Change you can freaking believe in

Super interesting NYT account of the scenes behind the scenes at the WH over the past couple of weeks. The bottom line is that president Obama was surrounded by very good people – I do not buy any conspiracy theories here – who are simply from a different generation, and their advice was to not throw Mubarak under the bus. At least not now. And while the president knew their arguments, and even agreed with some of them, he was not going to be on the wrong side of history. Not this man.

Booman is a bit harsh on Hillary, I think, but again he’s right on the money:

…So, the president flipped his lid and called up his buddy John Kerry to tell him to contradict that bullshit when he went on Meet the Press.

Meanwhile, he told Mubarak to get the fuck out, even as Clinton, Biden, and Gates tried to get him to side with the PermaGov.


Biden occasionally breaks the mold, as he did in his opposition to the escalation in Afghanistan, but the president still stands largely alone in his foreign policy team in siding against our sixty-five year history of screwing the underdog in favor of “stability” and “access to markets.” The man has guts, but it’s really nothing but a progressive view of U.S. foreign policy in the post-war era. We all espouse that view, but we never see it carried out in Washington DC. When I see things that never happen, happen, then I have to make a note of it.

You want to know why I was so passionate that Obama, and not Clinton, be the Democratic nominee? It wasn’t for health care reform. It was for decisions like this.


Amen, man. Amen.



258 thoughts on “Change you can freaking believe in

  1. Never underestimate the judgement and good sense of this President!!!

    Those who do only end up looking like morons !!

  2. An incredible President. Very few names will be above his in history. Lincoln and FDR may be the only ones, and I’m shaky on FDR…

  3. By the way, I stopped by Chipstick’s blog the Obama diary, and if you have checked out that valentines video of POTUS & FLOTUS – then go see it!! It’s a beautiful video!!

  4. Its a wonder to contemplate having someone who is trustworthy in the highest office in the land. We all need to strive to rise to the occasion.

  5. Amen indeed. The man is on the right side of history.

    Wavin at you my Sistah. Happy Sunday to all BWD Family.

  6. I have complete faith in President Obama, but do we know how well sourced/accurate is the article Booman based his article on?

  7. Let the people of Egypt decide! That is what Obama said day one, he did not mean Mubarak, Clinton, Biden or Gates. The world is changing, the USA does not and should not be
    involved in determine other countries governments.

    As for Hillary, go back and look at some of the photos from diaries, flicker, etc with her and Obama and the administration, she sometimes still have a look in her face that looks of jealousy, and envy. I did not want her in the administration. I think it was a smart move to have done it, because something tells me that she could have created a lot of unnecessary trouble. Overall I’m okay with what she doing, but she is still cocky as hell.

  8. TiMT! Not only was POTUS on the right side of history it seems to me that he just put a big kabosh on Al Queada’s recruitment abilities.

  9. I agree that foreign policy was one of the main reasons I did not want Hillary Clinton in the position of President also, especially after she said she would be willing to obliterate Iran during the primaries. Too, both Clintons are narcissists and tend to drag along a soap opera wherever they tread, and the thought of another four or eight year rerun of that in the public eye was disheartening. She is in the right place (even though I didn’t like President Obama putting her in this position at the time), and I believe her work as Secretary of State will leave her with a fine legacy. And it is very good that she is NOT making the final decisions. The American people rose to the occasion in electing President Obama, and I certainly hope more and more of them come to know that as time goes on.

  10. Hey Pam, Al Queada’s efforts has been dismantled in less than two years with diplomacy. I will say AMEN to that too. Have a good day.

  11. Meanwhile, John Boner says he is alright that americans think the President is a muslim!~

    WOW! What leadership the new speaker! Coward!

  12. I haven’t noticed any looks of jealousy or envy on Hillary’s face. Maybe, I’ve seen different pictures but it seems to me that they’ve got a good strong relationship. I think it’s possible that Hillary, Biden and Gates went to the old school of thought that supporting stability-even in the form of a dictator-was more prudent. Obama’s thinking is more modern…and more in keeping with the values of our country.

  13. I don’t know how closely any of you followed the situation in Honduras a while ago, but I read alot of Al Giordano’s commentary at the time.

    I thought of that when I read this NYT’s article. It shed some light on how Clinton’s response in Honduras didn’t jive well with what we’d expect from Obama either.

    I know Giordano was pretty hard on Clinton during all of that. So I have to wonder how much oversight Obama had during that one. I suppose he’s got to trust his cabinet and he can’t possibly manage everything.

    But it all raises some doubts for me about Clinton’s grasp of his foreign policy values. We know she’s always been more “hawkish” and tied in to the mentality that wants to maintain the status quo. So my trust of her in this SOS position has become a bit tainted.

    I’m not saying she’d purposefully try to harm Obama’s administration. Just that she sees things a bit differently when it comes to these issues.

  14. Now we know why the ex clintonites were going off on POTUS on Friday(jamie rubin and the like)! They were covering for HILLARY! Wow! Just Wow!

  15. And Pawlenty said, that Obama spoke like a towel of bable, in response to egypt!
    Gee, no racism from the repukes this morning!

  16. BTW: Biden on Iraq:

    BIDEN AND IRAQ: From a statement by the White House:
    “As part of his outreach to U.S. allies and partners, the Vice President spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today to consult on developments in Egypt. Both leaders welcomed the peaceful change in Egypt and commended the Egyptian army for respecting the wishes of the Egyptian people. The Vice President also congratulated the Prime Minister on the recent approval by the Council of Representatives of several key ministers, including the Minister of Electricity. The Vice President commended the Prime Minister for his role in consolidating Iraq’s democratic progress, and encouraged the prompt completion of the final steps for government formation, including the appointment of security ministers and the establishment of the National Council for Higher Policies.”

  17. Nothing. I honestly don’t think she had some hidden agenda to undermine the president. She is just different, and been around a long time. I don’t think she’ll SoS beyond 2012, though. My money is on John Kerry.

  18. The other thing I’ve wondered about recently is whether or not the events in Egypt and the response of some of his cabinet to all of that will make Obama question the advice he’s gotten from them when it comes to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    I suspect he’s made the best decisions he thinks are possible given the information he has. But if I were him, I might start questioning a lot of that.

  19. Also, apparently, Donillon is telling the peopole of Iran to revolt on monday, and asked the iranian govt to let them make hay, in peaceful protests!


  20. The NYT article doesn’t paint Clinton nearly as poorly as Booman wants to see it. She has real concerns, to build a democracy takes years – as was indicated there is no political structure, no parties, no political infrastructure. The easiest way would have been for Mubarak to stay in power to see an orderly transition, however the protesters wanted none of that because they didn’t trust he’d leave. Mubarak seemed to think the fever of the protesters would break and it would go back to normal and wanted to wait it out. He had 30 years to start democratic reforms, and he seemed to intent on handing power over to his son Gamel.

    Two months to hold an election would be reckless, and I recall reading that according to the Egypt constitution, rules of succession would have put a fully corrupt minister in power if Mubarak had resigned, which is why it was floated he’s stay President as a figure head. Again the protesters would have none of it.

    I suspect the Military commander in charge will now carry out exactly what Clinton, Biden and co wanted Mubarak to stick around to do – an orderly transition to democracy.

    I suspect initially the new civilian government will have as much power/control over the military as the civilian government has in Pakistan – which is none. Giving legit civilian control over the military will have to be phased in as well, as the democrasy grows and matures – it could take decades.

  21. If I was in any other autocratic states in the ME, I’d live vicariously though Egyptians rather than protest in my own streets, because I think other dictators will see that they need to stem protests early, to nip them in the bud and will crack down very hard, shooting early and often.

    Let Egypt be the example rather than rushing to cause a wave across the middle east. Get Egypt right and stable and then sell that example to the rest of the ME.

  22. Good afternoon g, I too have faith in my man. Glad he is leading this country and leading it by example for the whole world to see.

  23. Yea, but she must have known that Mubarak can not be trusted to be in charge of this transition. And in any case, the US can’t even have the semblance of supporting a dictator – which is what some of the comments coming from her people clearly projected.
    Having said that, i agree that this was not some coup, but merely different approach. Yet, it makes me happy that PBO took the path he took, despite the pressure.

  24. Its look a Jamie Rubin coming out against him you now see why he was on tv bashing because he went against status quo.

  25. TIMT- Your quote is a Quote i will remember

    You want to know why I was so passionate that Obama, and not Clinton, be the Democratic nominee? It wasn’t for health care reform. It was for decisions like this.

  26. “I don’t know how closely any of you followed the situation in Honduras a while ago, but I read alot of Al Giordano’s commentary at the time.

    I thought of that when I read this NYT’s article. It shed some light on how Clinton’s response in Honduras didn’t jive well with what we’d expect from Obama either.””

    It bothers me that this behavior could be indicative of a trend. I sincerely hope that it is not.

    From the beginning, this President’s greatest adversary has been the status quo, which has reared its head inside his own party, in the opposition party and in the media.

    Most of his work is slaying the clognescenti, the self-appointed council of the conventionally wise who gum up the works of progress by insisting that the path to progress is doing things the way we’ve always done them.

    Mubarak, and all of the other similarly situated regimes, are not operating in the same environment that they were when Ms. Clinton occupied the White House. Facebook was not a force to be reckoned with then.

    This President understands better than anyone how Facebook and instantaneously networked young people can completely upend all the conventional wisdom known to man and turn the inconceivable into the inevitable. Others are slow to understand that.

    You would think that Tunisia should have given everyone the head’s up that this is a different world; that people-powered movements can and will happen; that the U.S. can be unburdened with trying to dictate and shape democracy for others when they are quite capable of doing it for themselves.

  27. They must remember in all of those countries the youth is the majority. President Obama is a big big advocate for the youth. Every where he goes he talks to the youth and he has given the confidence to speak up. He has said from day one the youth have to make their country for them. He told the same in china and the African youth that came to the white house. He is teaching them how to organize and fight for what they want.

  28. He took the same path on GM, health care. When they told him not to he went with his own decision. He listened to every point of view and them made his decision. If that’s not leader ship then what is, everyone point of view was met and he gave the final decision.

  29. Statement by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon on Iran

    Posted by Macon Phillips on February 12, 2011 at 03:47 PM EST

    The White House has released a statement from National Security Advisor Tom Donilon on Iran:

    By announcing that they will not allow opposition protests, the Iranian government has declared illegal for Iranians what it claimed was noble for Egyptians. We call on the government of Iran to allow the Iranian people the universal right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and communicate that’s being exercised in Cairo.


  30. Again, it is proven with the way the clinonites lied about POTUS on friday! They were obvioulsy mad! The children that they are!

  31. It is pretty evident that all the former Clintonistas who went on T.V. to bash the President and present a “funhouse mirror” view of the President’s handling of the situation in Egypt, got the go ahead from Clinton (Bill and/or Hillary). This is troubling to me. Until now, I gave Hillary the benefit of the doubt and thought she was loyal to Obama. That does not seem to be the case. Hillary does represent the “old-school” view of foreign policy (illustrated by her positions during the start of the Iraq War and during the 2008 campaign). Her providing her honest view of the best course to the President is fine. But to attempt to undermine the decision Obama made and then have her allies smear Obama after her tricks failed show her true character (or lack thereof).

  32. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if the President is a Muslim or not. There’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim. There is something wrong with /bimplyingb/ that there’s something wrong with being a Muslim. And there’s something definitely wrong with calling the President a liar about his faith- especially when it’s for the sake of political gain.

    There’s no requirement for the President to be a Christian. But he is a Christian. He’s said he is, and he’s shown that he is. But it has nothing to do with his position as President, or qualification to be President. It’s his personal belief.

    There are many Muslims in this country and in this world. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a Muslim.

  33. The most revealing thing about the Egyptian revolt. Not 1 American flag burned or a picture of our president, blame of the US. They tried but people let the message be about Muburak not America.

  34. The Repubs are trying to say the President isn’t showing leadership with the budget because he’s not spelling out the tough cuts. This, from the same people who voted down the Deficit Commission recommendations. This, from the people who have thrown out a number ($100 billion in cuts), but haven’t really shown how it can be done. This, from people who spent the last two years denying their role in creating the deficit, and squealing about the fact that they are prepared to cut spending – but who are still to realistically put forward a credible budget. They want the President to put his neck on the line, and propose deep cuts in the difficult areas; and yet, they are the ones who made everyone think that the deficit was the most urgent issue in the country. Let them step up to the microphone and take ownership of the deficit reduction. Cowards.

  35. This actually might be the first RIFT between Hillary and POTUS! At least, that is what her supporters want! But, did she tell them what happened, and how did the Kristof and Rubins of the world find out this info?

  36. I’m going to push back on Booman a bit. While I agree with most of what he wrote in the blog you linked, I am in TOTAL disagreement with part of it. Here’s the comment I left on his post:

    I agree with most of what you have written here but this is absurd:

    Even Jimmy Carter shrugged while the Shah butchered the protesters in 1978 and 1979.

    There is nothing in Jimmy Carter’s history before or after this event that would lead anything rational person to conclude that he simply shrugged while innocent protestors were slaughtered. Carter is one of the nation’s preeminent humanitarians and this decision, which history has shown to be the wrong one, was not one he would have made lightly.

    Jimmy Carter is one of my heroes and that is largely because I have never in my life seen another leader that lived his life so compassionately or, frankly “Jesus-like” ((Christian). There is no way you could convince me that he showed casual disregard for the Iranian student protestors that eventually overthrew the Shah. It is as ridiculous to say something like that as it was to suggest that President Obama would throw poor people under the bus. It just isn’t who these men are.

  37. Excellent comment FiredUp. Maybe the “clognescenti” (great coinage, btw) will shift a tad to the new paradigm. FP “experts”, IMO, are the worst when it comes to entrenched thinking.

  38. A must read:

    Glenn Beck’s hysterical rants about Egypt play on fear

    We saw all the character traits from one figure looming over the Egypt story: the massive shows of emotion, the sketchy command of others’ views, the megalomaniacal refusal to recognize facts on the ground. And, as always, the willingness to say and do anything to command the stage for one more day.

    We speak not of Hosni Mubarak, but of that other master of manipulation and misdirection, Glenn Beck.

    What seemed like a joyous and hopeful turning point to most others in the media, including some of his Fox News colleagues, appeared to Beck, instead, as a foreboding and likely ruinous event for Egypt, for the Mideast and possibly for all of humanity.

    The author, entertainer and onetime stand-up comedian has had many low moments in his relentless pursuit of the lowest common denominator, but this week’s embrace of fear and loathing may have been the nadir. Beck again proved he is the current exemplar of what political scientist Richard J. Hofstadter defined as the “paranoid style” in American politics.

    Go read it all:,0,7125172.column

  39. I remember reading those articles and being very worried about having Clinton as SoS. She is someone who seems very tied into the status quo and doesn’t seem open to new ideas or strategies. One of the reasons I didn’t want her in Obama’s admin.

  40. I agree with you Eclectablog about Clinton, I felt the democratic party abandon him and left out on a limb for a lot of what he was trying to do. Especially with energy, they allowed the republicans to mock as if he was out of his mind and they did not defend him.

  41. Interesting “I don’t think she’ll be SOS beyond 2012”. I wonder if she’ll become the first woman Secretary of Defense? Any thoughts?

  42. I suspect initially the new civilian government will have as much power/control over the military as the civilian government has in Pakistan – which is none. Giving legit civilian control over the military will have to be phased in as well, as the democrasy grows and matures – it could take decades.

    Demanding democracy is easier and more instantaneous than implementing it.

    Mubarak’s instant resignation, without a framework for real reform would have been disastrous. The Egyptian constitution as written would have promoted their Speaker to the Presidency.

    “Fathi Surur, who has been speaker of the People’s Assembly since 1990, described by someone familiar with his record as “a corrupt, venal man,” who under the existing constitution would become president of the country if Mubarak should abruptly resign or be removed from office.”

    Daily Beast

    Now comes the cautiously optimistic period as Egypt hopefully transitions to authentic, irreversible, democratic reform.

    Reporting from Cairo — Egypt’s military disbanded the country’s parliament and suspended the constitution on Sunday, saying it will rule for six months or until presidential and parliamentary elections are held, according to a statement by the military council read on state television.

    The announcement, which came two days after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, met some of the demands of anti-government protesters who for nearly three weeks demonstrated against Mubarak and the parliament and demanded constitutional reforms.

  43. Boy, do I hope you are right. Clinton has been a bad choice at SoS since the beginning. I think Kerry has the chance to be a remarkable SoS.

  44. I think you’re right. John Kerry has been speaking positively for the Administration for a few months now, and he’s been doing a great job. He was great on the Sunday shows during the Russia nuclear treaty drama in December. He’s been good on the ground in the Middle East. And, I think he’s wasted in the Senate. Nothing’s going to happen there for the next few years. We could use him in the Administration, and I think he’ll offer a good sounding board for the President, along with VP Biden. And he’s a known entity, so the loss of SOS Clinton’s star power won’t be so dramatic. Maybe Hillary can go to Defense, but she would need a strong counter in the SOS position to keep her in check. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, and who features largely during the campaign.

  45. It amazes me how they fault him for belonging to a christian church with paster Wright but yet he’s a muslim-facist-maoist-racist-blah-blah-blag garbage. These rethug-teagaggers are such lazy-moronic-haters.

  46. I have to say this article shows once again why I picked Obama over Clinton and why it makes me so nuts that supporters of Clinton keep claiming that a Hillary Clinton administration would be no different than the Obama admin. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Obama has an ability to see the long-game, the courage to change the status quo and a real understanding of what the general public wants. Hillary is ok at policy issues but is completely tone-deaf on understanding the public’s wants from government.

  47. Wow! is right. I certainly didn’t make that connection. The only thing I thought was WTF! and wondered if his wife Christiane Ammanpour called him a douche.

  48. I think Mubarak would have intimidated the people so that the so-called elections would be an exercise in futility, and would have crushed the will of the people. The fact that they were issuing veiled threats of violence and crackdowns tells a lot.

  49. Shouldn’t some daily publish an article about Beck playing on fears? When has he not!
    Very good article.

  50. I was initially very skeptical about then Senator Obama for President. It was the “experience” thing that kind of worried me. But once I got past the experience thing, THE biggest reason I had to vote for him was foreign policy. It was apparent to me that he got it. He got the world. He got the developing world. He had an overall understanding — holistic maybe even — of how things work and how people feel and what their true aspirations are than any other person in American foreign policy… ever. Our foreign policy has been horrible for ages. He really seemed to get it. And then there was his domestict policy, too, but I have to agree with Booman. I backed him from early on because of Foreign Policy, not because of Health Care.

  51. Carter is a hero of mine as well.

    But his record as President was clearly mixed when you look at his administration’s reaction to events in East Timor, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

    They were different times surely. But his record was – at best – mixed while in office.

  52. From a couple of testimonials on how Obama leads, it appears that he prefers to let people do their thing. He doesn’t like to micromanage and he wants to show that he trusts you. HOWEVER, if its true that HC is going against his values or messing up then I think he needs to lay out his foreign policy goals for her once again.

  53. I accepted why President Obama made Hillary SOS, but I had hoped he would choose John Kerry. Kerry is a true statesman IMO and I believe he would be an outstanding partner and representative for PBO. I will love Kerry forever for giving PBO the keynote spot at the 2004 convention which catapulted him onto the national scene. (He would have gone there anyway once he was in the senate, but the convention speech accelerated the American people taking notice.)

  54. This has been troubling me for the last hour, e. I was in “the Tribe” and I never got a consistent read on him. I do not know went on behind the scenes of the Egyptian story, although the general consensus here seems reasonable. But Booman’s comment about Carter was not.

  55. Yep, remember Rubin insisting that Hillary should be out front and that President Obama should take a back seat? What a child.

  56. He’s already gone up against some of them on Afghanistan. If it were up to the generals, there would be no tentative draw down date and thousands of more troops than what was given by Obama. I read that Obama pushed for a draw down date because he didn’t want to lose the support of Democrats (in congress). Democrats are pretty good at pressuring him on Afghanistan so I hope they keep it up.

  57. I agree with you Eclectablog,

    Carter (the first president I was able to vote for) was so much like PBO. Like PBO he had to fight with his own party. As much as I like Ted Kennedy, his jealousy of Carter prevented a lot of his good policies to go through. Carter had traiters within the GOP to make him look bad so that they could unleash Ronald Raygun upon the American people that would be devasting for the next 30yrs.

  58. A government spending bill authored by House Republicans that would block funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s pending climate rules is “irresponsible and reckless,” a “preliminary analysis” of the legislation being circulated by the administration says.

    “The impacts of some language would be far wider than they intend,” the analysis, obtained by The Hill from a source in the administration, says.

  59. This is a snippet from Jason Linkins’ column at HuffPO about what Fareed Zakaria at CNN had to say on his show today about how the president handled Egypt compared to Saint Ronnie and President-of-the-world Clinton:

    Zakaria takes a moment up front to talk about the “Monday morning quarterbacking” that’s come home from Egypt, and says that some of the criticism of the Obama administration is “genuinely unfair.” Okay, what then: the Mubarak regime was a staunch ally, and a peacekeeper that did everything we asked of it, and yet there was also a “moral need” to support the Egyptian people. A true “balancing act,” says Zakaria, who goes on to say, “Let’s see what other Presidents did” in the same situation.

    Reagan and Ferdinand Marcos? Reagan took three years to make up his mind what to do about Marcos suppression of democratic opposition. Clinton and Suharto? It took his administration a year and a half to change policies. On the other hand, Zakaria says, it took Obama a week to switch policies. “That may be an eternity for cable news,” he says, “But it’s fast by my clock.” (I sort of think that events dictated much of that policy change in the unique way these events unfolded, but I’ll let everyone chew on that.)

    “Imagine is Washington had asked Mubarak to leave and he hadn’t,” Zakaria says, pointing out that there are limits to “Washington’s power.” (Also, imagine if we had asked for Mubarak to stay and the Egyptian people tossed him?) Overall, I gather that Zakaria gives what was done by the administration a thumbs up.

    I don’t think I agree that PBO “switched” policies, but an overall good analysis.

  60. Obama’s budget to call for slashing oil tax breaks, boosting clean energy
    By Andrew Restuccia – 02/13/11 02:48 PM ET

    President Obama is expected to call on Congress Monday to eliminate billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks, while setting aside money for his top clean-energy policy priorities.

    Obama will send his fiscal year 2012 budget request to Congress on Monday. The budget comes as Republicans are calling for massive cuts in spending, unveiling a proposal this week to fund the government through the end of this fiscal year that would cut $100 billion in spending when compared to Obama’s 2011 budget request.

  61. Very good, Firedup. Mubarak didn’t get it and I don’t think HRC got it either. PBO is much closer to the youth in the US and the world mentally, and how social media can and does work around governments and media. I don’t think Hillary or Mubarak are ever going to be active twitterers. It’s a different mindset and they are left out and left behind and don’t even realize it, but that can be dangerous in today’s world as Mubarak found out quickly.
    I don’t particularly mind Hillary being slow on the take, but I do mind if she goes off without understanding which direction PBO wants to go. I sure don’t want her answering that 3 am phone call by herself.

  62. Lowers the deficit a trillion dollars in ten years doesn’t seem like much in that there would be many trillion added to the debt – at least $5T more one would have to figure. Because lowering it $1T means in given it’s 1.5T this year that the defict would still be $500B in the last year. And the budget has to factor in the economy growing as part of the off-set. Unless I am completely misunderstanding the whole premise.

    Maybe this is just the starting point for the Administration knowing they’ll need to negotiate deeper cuts with the GOP.

    I assume the administration knows cuts in the adstract are popular, but in actuality folks want the programs they have now. There was a poll done recently where the only thing the majority of folks could agree to cut was foreign aid. 60% plus didn’t want to cut education, defense, or SS.

  63. Yes, I have one thought…God, help us! Sorry but I think she would get the US in a big heap of trouble as SofD. Imagine her managing Iraq or Afghanistan or Iran or No. Korea.

  64. Hi BWD: First of all I want to thank you for creating this wonderful website. Now that I am retired I lurk here every day. I used to lurk other sites but I couldn’t stomach the vitriol that is going on. I have never posted anything on a political website. Even though I am not a good writer, I thought, if I managed to convince my daughter the power of one’s vote through our personal story, you might be able to convince some other person through your site. You can edit and use this any way you wants to. So, here we go
    Nearly thirty years ago MSU offered both my husband and I, each a half- time graduate assistantship, to pursue a PhD in mathematical statistics. For two people living day to day with a small daughter in a poor third world country it was a god’s send. There was one catch. We have to pay our own way to get to US. After selling everything we own we had just enough money to buy tickets for two of us but not for our daughter. Usually airlines allow children under two years old travel free with parents as long as they sit on their parents lap. So, we booked our flights and came to this wonderful country two days before our daughter’s second birthday with only $100 in hand and lot of hope. I still remember how much my heart sank when my adviser told me due to Reagan budget cuts to the higher education (my first experience with a republican administration) MSU had to reduce my assistantship in half. Living in Michigan as full time graduate students taking care of a little girl with a small stipend wasn’t easy. We never could afford any new clothes or anything new for that matter. I can remember walking in knee deep snow in Michigan carrying grocery bags with a little girl trotting behind. With lot of hard work both my husband and I earned our PhDs and today we can send our daughter to a graduate school without worrying about loans. In fact, today we are living the American dream. That is why when I heard, then Senator Obama gave that rousing speech at the 2004 convention, I thought to myself, that is my story he is telling. By the time he started saying, “no other country on earth my story is even possible” tears were rolling down my eyes. After that speech I started reading about everything I can get my hands on about him his two books. I was elated when he announced his candidacy.
    I used to tell my daughter when she start complaining while growing up, it is not the material things that matter, it is something we have to understand and enjoy immensely everyday in this country- freedom. The country I came from has no freedom of speech , no freedom of press or none of the freedoms that we take for granted here Yet, we have one important right, every six years we are allowed to vote to elect a government of our choice. This is the only freedom we have without government intrusion, the only chance we get to say something about our government without getting beaten . We treasure and guard it with our lives. That is why usually about 95% of the population go to the voting booth every time there is an election, some even risking their lives. We always knew how important voting is and we never took that right for granted. We knew the power it has on our education, the power it has in our social well being, the power it has in every aspect of our lives. Growing up in this country my daughter was so skeptical about politics. So, when Senator Obama announced his candidacy I just ask my daughter one simple thing, just listen to him and make your own judgment. Being who she is she became field officer for Obama campaign and started telling our story to at the house parties and meetings bringing tears to the audience and convincing them to vote. I don’t know whether I am as good as she is telling this but if I can convince at least one person never to give up your right to vote I accomplished something.
    I know one thing for sure I am so grateful that he is our president

  65. NO! This lowers the deficit! Not the debt! The debt is bills that are not paid for! The deficit is the amount of revenue that we take in, subtracted by spending. Currently, we spent 3.5 trillion last year oand took in 2.2 trillion…

  66. I say imagine Obama backed the protesters completely early on and Mubarak cracked down militarily – What would America then do? Watch the slaughter or send in troops?

    Obama called for non-violence from both sides – which allowed the protesters numbers to swell as more and more felt more confident in their safety to protest.

  67. Fareed Zakira always give a fair debate. Foreing Policy infor i always make suree i look at him on Sundays. You learn a lot.

  68. Some folks are probably going to come after me for this, but I really don’t like terms like Clintonistas and such. It is similar in tone to terms like Obamabots.

    Personally, I think HCR has been an excellent SoS. Look at a lot of the foreign policy accomplishments of this adminsitration, and she has been at the center of them. Plus she has worked very hard for the rights of women around the world.

    I think she has been a more positive influence than she would have been as Senator. And I think she truly has developed a good relationship with the President, one based upon mutual respect. Every picture I see of the two of them together displays that.

    I mentioned on a previous thread that the President not only doesn’t mind contrary thinking and comments from people around him, he actually welcomes it.

    We don’t know the whole story behind the events leading up to now, and I think we should avoid making judgements without all the facts.

    And, realistically, we don’t know what is going to happen in Egypt going forward. I can understand the thinking that it would have been good to have Mubark around for a while, as long as he was actually doing something in response to the protestors demands.

    I really enjoy Zakharia’s insights. Generally speaking, he is a conservative and initially was in favor of going into Iraq. But he saw quickly that was a mistake.

  69. Chitra thank you for telling your story. The most important lesson I got from it is that voting is not a luxury or a bargaining chip, it’s a duty and a privilege not available to every citizen in every country in the world. Those of us who have it need to honor and cherish the right to vote.

  70. Jovie- So the cut the president advocating will bring our deficit down to about even what we took in, so then we should see a bigger revenue next year, due to decrease in health care na financial reform. Am i reading that right!

  71. But the debt grows by the annual deficit every year. So if the plan is to cut the deficit by $100B a year for ten years to get to the $1T number Lew is selling – The annual deficits would look like this, which would be the same number added to the debt each year


    That would be $7T added to the debt over the same time frame. Current debt is 14T, this would bump it up to 21T?

    I have to be completely misunderstanding somethign here.

  72. OT but interesting story about Haley Babour’s state of Mississippi wanting a license plate to honor a guy who was a grand wizard in the KKK.

    Oops! Not good timing for his presidential aspirations. I seriously don’t get why this guy with all this baggage thinks he could be a viable candidate in the age of Obama — in spite of the tea party bigots who represent only a fraction of the great citizens of this great country.

  73. It would depend on what he is adding. The healthcare has to be adjusted to the new healthcar, so would financial reform, and now if he gets it passed the oil subsides , which would help reduce it even more.

  74. Anonymously leaked OMB document: weather balloons or real starting points for negotiations?:

    Community development block grants would be trimmed by $300 million, the government’s program to help low-income people pay their heating bills would be cut in half for a savings of $2.5 billion, and a Great Lakes environmental restoration program would but cut by 25 percent to save $125 million, according to an Office of Management and Budget summary.

    That document also said that the budget would cut the Pentagon’s spending plans over the next decade by $78 billion with reductions in various weapons programs deemed unnecessary including the C-17 aircraft, the alternative engine for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and the Marine expeditionary vehicle.

    The OMB document also listed $1 billion in cuts in grants for large airports, almost $1 billion in a reduction in support to states for water treatment plants and other infrastructure programs and savings from consolidating public health programs run by the Center for Disease Control and various U.S. Forest Service programs.

    The administration will also propose saving $100 billion from Pell Grants and other higher education programs over a decade through belt-tightening with the savings used to keep the maximum college financial aid award at $5,550, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the budget’s Monday release.

    The OMB summary said that the $1.1 trillion deficit savings would reduce the deficit as a percentage of the total economy to 3 percent of GDP by the middle of this decade.

  75. I read that article the other day. I thought it showed some great insight into what goes on behind the scenes in crises like this!! It was also a reflection on who the President is – and what his vision is.

  76. Oops. Apparently an OMB official spoke anonymously in the article but the document was not leaked anonymously.

  77. He put this out there for negotiations, where knowing President Obama is will get more.

  78. Its so nice to read your story Chitra, I hope you’ll continue writing here, thank you for sharing… and I absolutely agree, our right to vote is too important to not use. I met several folks when canvassing- who told me they don’t vote- and it was amazing to me, how willing they were and how cynical they were about giving up something that too many folks have had to die for.

  79. the government’s program to help low-income people pay their heating bills would be cut in half for a savings of $2.5 billion

    Yea, it’s going to be noisy tomorrow. I hope there’s a really logic explanation for this.

  80. Thank you. I’m not a debater, more like an accumlator of info, and then a mover. But one NYT article is just that – one NYT article.

    Have a good week, japa. Off to do everything I’ve been putting off. like, forever 🙂

  81. I think this is where he will bring it to the oil subsides. why are we giving subsides to oil and energy cost is so high. We all have to help this is why he started off with weatherization. get your homes together because a cut is coming and i agree. The people will have to help.

  82. That’s how I see it too, pamelabrown. They seem to actually be quite close and warm. I do think that those who are older, were more comfortable dealing with Mubarak than with uncertainty but the Egyptian people were not going to put up with that. It’s long past time to see the Middle East start to listen to the people. People who are happy are a lot less likely to turn to terrorism even if their leaders aren’t as easy to manipulate. And that should be our goal – happy, empowered people with a chance for prosperity and advancement. That will do more to calm tensions than anything else. That’s what President Obama gets.

  83. Chitra – your story has brought tears to my eyes! This story and others needs to be told over and over again to get people in the U.S. to vote every two years and not just when we vote for President’s! I vote everytime — even primaries – – as my father told me as a young girl that he fought in WWII for my right to vote. So every time I vote I think of my father.

  84. Chitra,

    Loved your story of struggle and success. I hope you visit and post comments regularly. I would love to read your prospective on things.

  85. Nicely said Lila, especially this part:

    And that should be our goal – happy, empowered people with a chance for prosperity and advancement. That will do more to calm tensions than anything else. That’s what President Obama gets.

  86. The right, FL, and frustrai have a problem understanding the power of people-powered protests even though they know the value of FB and Twitter. IMO, their problem is one of authoritarianism in wanting to write the narrative and impose their values on others. I think this is why it’s so difficult for some of them to acknowledge that allowing the people of Tunisia and Egypt to run their own protest movement was the right move for the president to make. They talk a good game, but when it comes to allowing their beliefs/principles to play out in real time, their faith in what they believe seems to abandon/elude them. I find it hard to reconcile my belief that democracy comes from the people with rooting for a dictator to remain in power simply because it makes our relations with their countries easier, so when the Egyptians began their protests, I remained firmly in their camp. This didn’t appear to be the case for some of those “freedom loving” members on the right, and for some of the PL and frustrati. IMO, one either has enduring principles by which one lives or one has none.

  87. Thanks for this. Fareed was spot on. I’m heading out for some fattening cake and ice cream (forgive me First Lady!). Have a wonderful rest of your Sunday, all.

  88. I agree. I don’t subscribe to the notion that there was some conspiracy born out of jealousy from times gone by. I do think, however, that HRC is in an old school camp of foreign policy and to me it shows a lack of imagination and vision. Curiously, I think HRC as President would have always been trying to prove she could be just as tough as a man. And yet President Obama’s foreign policy is about the overall vision.

    Some interesting ideas emerging today about the fact that it’s better that Obama doesn’t have a ‘doctrine’ that he has to be slotted into. I said in the last thread that there may be a time where the stability of the bad guy may be necessary. Obama judges everything on a case-by-case basis.

    Obama did as little as possible, but would have done what was necessary. It is fascinating to hear the CPAC crowd — if you don’t show military might and bring the rest of the world to U.S. will, then you’re weak. This President showed immense political prowess throughout the last several weeks.

    Hillary may not have imagined that there was any other way than the way foreign policy has been done for the last 60 years. It takes a particularly brilliant mind to project the consequences ahead and understand the line to which Obama went right up to, and refused to cross. The respect he showed the Egyptian people was remarkable.

  89. Well-balanced comment, japa. I have never been Clinton fans (though I voted for Bill twice; what else was I to do?), and I am very pleased that Ms. Clinton is not our President, but we don’t want to manufacture rifts where there are none.

  90. From the comments made by Kerry through all of this, and his pulling behind the President, I couldn’t help but wonder if Kerry had been SoS during this. He seems to have ‘gotten it’ so it’s more than just a generational difference.

  91. This story and others needs to be told over and over again to get people in the U.S. to vote every two years and not just when we vote for President’s! I vote everytime — even primaries…


    I actually thought in 2008 that millions of people understood how important it was to stay stay engaged. That it was not yes he can, it was yes we can. But 2010 proved that this message has to be driven home.

    Perhaps the policies that will take hold after 53% of the state legislatures went to Republicans will awaken people to the fact that not voting, is not an option.

  92. yes, each of the times I saw a newsy ask someone in the crowd how they felt about “obama” they said they respect president Obama. No matter how passionate they were with whatever statement they were making there was a sense of calm and appreciation when they spoke of our president. I could tell this was not what our hating ass media wanted to hear. You can tell they were feenin for an American flag to be burned and signs with 44 a blaze.

  93. The heating bill, pell grant and environmental program cuts will occupy and mortify the left, and they’ll call the defense cut proposal mere window dressing.

    The right will call the heating bill, pell grant and environmental program cuts window dressing, and they’ll call the defense cut proposal the beginning of the end of the republic.

    The thing is, there have to be significant cuts from somewhere and there are no painless choices. So accepting that some cuts are going to hurt or offend some constituency, the question is, which cuts will pass?

  94. or voting third party.

    I never understood this false meme, “both parties are the same.”

    I don’t see Dems eradicating on women’s rights in the House. Nor do I see Dems calling for spending cuts on everything that benefits the average citizen.

    I also don’t see Dems asking “Where is Obama’s birth certificate?”

    The whole “both parties are the same” is just an excuse to keep the status quo going. Why vote for third party candidates who have NOTHING to offer other than not being a Democrat or Republican?

    I’d rather vote for a Democrat who agrees with me 50% of the time and has a chance of winning than a third party candidate who has nothing to offer and is guaranteed to lose.

  95. I’d like to hear more about that one too.

    I remember a few months ago when there were proposed cuts to food stamps to help offset the costs of additional aid to the states. It turned out that those cuts didn’t take affect until 2014 and even then were a reduction only of the increase included in the stimulus.

    When you understand Obama’s values, you can usually count on a reasonable explanation if you have the patience to wait for it.

  96. I am very skeptical of Fareed Zakaria. I watch his show, but with one eye open. He ended his show today recommending Bush’s book, saying it was very well written, and that people may disagree with some of the perspectives. A person with the credibility of Zakaria needs to be very careful about what they recommend, and how they recommend it. Bush’s book is full of untruths, and is an effort to rewrite history. A lot of damage was done under the Bush administration, and a lot of lives were lost. To imply that Bush’s book is simply a different perspective is dishonest, as far as I’m concerned. That said – Zakaria inspires debate, if nothing else.

  97. I vote because of my parents, who for decades couldn’t vote because of segregation, especially here in GA. And the fact that I grew up under segregation means voting is very important to me, too. Once you’ve had parents emphasize the importance of something that happened in their lives, you tend not to forget. I raised my daughter to believe in the power of her vote, too, and I’m sure she’ll pass it on to her kids since I began taking her into the voting booth to watch me vote when she was a baby!

  98. The more I read, the more I think that this was all about looking at all sides of the situation and plotting the best course.

    All sides needed to be heard in the privacy of the Oval Office. There was some sloppy messaging at the beginning and that is really unfortunate. The one lesson to be learned her is that no one talks until a clear message has been articulated.

    I would assume that all possibilities would be under discussion in this critical period: and that would include the most ‘conservative’ possibility: keeping Mubarak in power until September’s election. That would have been the most stable but was fraught with peril over the next 8 months. At that point, the wishes of the Egyptian people to have Mubarak resign so that the country can move forward, had to be considered as well. I think the outcome was the absolute best, based on the wishes of all parties.

  99. Hillary has actually done a very good job overall as Secretary of State, and I don’t think she went off the res deliberately in this situation. What happened is that she followed the same old practice of propping up the dictator for fear of instability should anything else happen. Obama acted quickly to stem the bleeding she and her hand-picked man started and all seems to be back where it should be with them.

    This is one of the reasons I went with Obama early on rather than Hillary, which is who most of my friends wanted. I remember getting into some pretty volatile arguments over my decision. Here I was, a middle-aged divorced professional woman whose friends were all Hillary supporters and who occupies THE Hillary demographic, but I thought she would be a little too much of the status quo. I’m more radical than my friends. Obama just struck me as being a lot more outside the box and I just liked him better.

  100. Agree completely. I’m not going to fault Hillary’s service as Secy of State. She has provided excellent and faithful service as Obama’s spokesperson to the world on behalf of this country. Obama has let Hillary approach the job the way she prefers and she makes most of her own decisions. This just happened to be one that she bolluxed up a bit. He trusts her, trusts her judgment, and she’s done a pretty solid job. She should get a lot of credit for joining his Cabinet and working so hard to do the job. He’s got to maneuver between her and other strong people like Stephanie Powers, but somehow he is doing it and getting the benefit of some brilliant minds in return.

  101. Hillary’s supporters have always been rather vicious loose cannons (and yes, some of the Obama bashing was from this camp and for this reason).

    Obama spokesmen tend to be dull. Let’s face it. They have no idea how to focus the people’s outrage and use the truth to do it. I’m hoping Gibbs will step into this role, but I really get the idea that Gibbs is burned out and we may not see him for awhile.

    It served no one. However, once those early statements were out of the way, this was a very disciplined and effective message machine. The President was practically the only one speaking on it, save for the most trusted of allies, John Kerry.

    It was frankly hysterical to watch the knee-jerk bashing start: if Obama didn’t respond the exact instant that something happened, he was failing. It literally got to that point on CNN: they didn’t give the White HOuse five minutes after Mubarak’s screw over on Thursday.

  102. I think these proposed hard cuts are going to provide a foil against the Republican pushback on closing loopholes. They will provide a comparisona about people having to go without basic essentials, but the tax loopholes are what the Republicans are protecting. I think these cuts are also to wake people up and get them to participate in the budget debates, which are so dry that people don’t typically pay attention. People who care about these important budget items should rise up and declare them off limits, and push for more defense cuts and more loop hole closures – which will bring the difference with Republicans priorities into clear focus.

  103. Please if any of you are from Wisconsin make sure to vote on Feb 16th Tuesday for the supreme court primary – vote anyone except David Prosser

  104. funny people’s knickers gonna be getting in knots over this but crickets on the disgusting cuts the Repubs have proposed. Education,funding for hcr, energy, USDA’s food inspection program,Title I (direct hit to lower income children and the communities they live in, Americorps (wipe out entirely) PBS, etc, yet no one cares….*sigh*

  105. Democrats are starting to make some GOP members of congress nervous by exposing their hypocrisy on budget cuts to their constituents. This is long overdue…..


    About two weeks ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, working under the assumption that spending cuts aren’t nearly as popular as Republicans might think, launched an interesting ad campaign.

    The DCCC targeted 19 GOP House incumbents, nearly all of whom represent districts won by President Obama in 2008, blasting their support for a spending-cut plan that would “cut education” and “cut science and technology research,” which would in turn cost jobs. Soon after, some of the Republicans facing the heat felt a little defensive.

    In other words, the ads had the intended effect. GOP lawmakers in competitive districts wanted to be seen as cutting spending, but started getting nervous when Dems told their constituents about the breadth of the possible cuts.
    Republicans are convinced the public will reward them for gutting the budget, cutting services, and putting more Americans out of work. I have a hunch their confidence is misplaced.

  106. I have been impressed that during the entire Obama presidency, Ms Obama has managed to get things done, without drawing criticism as someone who is calling the shots and wearing the pants in the family. She is very good at projecting the image of a supportive wife and mother who is also concerned about issues and smart as they come.

    She would have made a great President.

  107. Fareed Zakaria gives the president a well deserved thumbs up on his handling of the Egyptian crisis.

    I’ll be curious to see when the polls comes out whether the American public will also approve. My feeling is that Obama will do well. All those rapturous Egyptian faces enjoying their freedom makes a compelling and convincing picture that the right outcome has been achieved.
    Plus, it’s given the western world a whole new view of the broad scope of Muslim people. I think it’s created a level of good will towards Muslims that 9/11 destroyed.

  108. Agreed. We will see if NYT has to retracted anything reported in the story. It was fascinating.

  109. Let us hope that this kind of mistake does not happen again. For one thing, it makes the administration look a little disorganized.

    I think everyone will have learned they need to have the same script.

  110. I watched the morning shows today, and the all republicans were saying how bad POB handle
    this crisis of Egypt WOW!THe GOP are really freaking out and they know they will not be able to CHALLANGE OUR VERY SMART PRESIDENT.

  111. I understand what Herbert wants, but I am somewhat tired of the fact that he has nothing but extremely harsh criticism of the president.

    Obama is not a king. As caring as Bob Herbert is, he would not be able to create the country he desires. Having a desire does not mean it can happen in two, four, six, eight years.

    No one can tell me that PBO does not want the same things as Bob Herbert.

  112. Well said PB. I think we should avoid trashing Sec. Clinton. I am sure the President appreciates honest and principled advice from Mrs.Clinton, VP Biden, and Mr Gates, especially in complex situations as was the case with Egypt. I also think that their position, emphasizing orderly transition, was not entirely without merit. I think Sec. Clinton has been doing a superb job. I hope we, at this site, will resist the temptation to begin trashing her just because she took a slightly different position from that of the President. I also think that opponents of the president will hype this in order to divide us. I hope we won’t buy into their games.

  113. Yes! let the Egyptian people decide what kind of democracy want to have, and who their leader will be it seems that the GOP want to choose for them! CRAP!. Mr president you did fantastic and thank you and yes we CAN.

  114. Agreed. I have no idea how many times things like this have happened, but everybody needs to remember that PBO is the “decider”. It is their job to stick to his script.

    Actually, I am so happy that Samantha Power(s) is back. She has fire within her. I know she should not have called Hillary a monster. Big mistake but she had to pay for it.

    Her book on Rwanda is incredible.

  115. Funny, I have been thinking the same thing. I know Kerry was hurt that Obama overlooked him.

  116. That was absolutely infuriating. Apparently hard feeling against some one are very, very difficult to get beyond.

  117. You have to read between the lines on the NYT story. Someone within the administration leaked it to highlight how involved the Prez was. And the story was tailored to fault the Hillary Camp. Jamie Rubin’s appearances on TV was the tell. He even categorically stated Obama’s Cairo speech had nothing to do with anything.
    What a misread. Obama got more support on TV from the Bush/Reagan people including McCain than our own people.

  118. My question is why are journalists, who are supposedly intelligent, and who expect us to respect them, still asking this stupid question? In my view this is subliminal propaganda to heighten the fears of the less informed people.

  119. The budget battle is going to be a big fight, Dems really got to get out and defend it. Make the GOP own all of their drastic cuts, and frame it as economy killing and that it will only oncrease the debt and deficit as more jobs are lost and the tax base shrinks.

    Also interesting that Lew is back as OMB, since he was the director who was responsible for the Clinton budget surplus that was left to Bush. That is great messaging if they make sure to mention it. Also Mitch Daniels is often touted as a Presidential Contender, but he was the OMB director that took over from Lew when Bush was elected, serving from 2001-2003 and took the $200B surplus into a $300B deficit. On Daniels watch the GOP passed the Medicare Part D boondoggle and the Bush Tax Cuts, where he slipped in the sunset clause to hide the deficit exploding effect it would have.

    People like the abstract of cutting the deficit, but don’t like it when specifics are mentioned. Dems need to frame it with specifics, don’t let it be framed as “GOP holding out for more deficit cuts” but rather “GOP holding out for more cuts to education”.

  120. oh and I forgot to mention I found it highly unusual that no Admin people for FP were on any Sunday Show. He wants them to keep their mouths shut and concentrate on the Budget.

  121. I also had hoped John Kerry would have been SOS from the beginning. I was really surprised when he was not chosen. I believe Hillary has said she would only do the job for one term so I am hoping Kerry is her replacement. But I am also concerned, after the Scott Brown election, about his Senate Seat. Let us hope the people of MA have learned a lesson and would only elect a Democrat to fill his seat should he be chosen for a post in this administration in the future.

  122. Fascinating video, 25 minutes but worth the time. I now realize there was years of planning in this movement. Those folks have a reason to feel proud.

    Thanks zizi

  123. I respectfully disagree. I think Hilary Clinton has done a good job as SoS. She is also well liked and respected around the world. Again, I hope we don’t begin playing into the hands of those who want to divide us. I am glad we have a president who makes final decisions. I also think that the President selected VP. Biden, Sec. Clinton and Sec. Gates because he values their experience, independence and honesty. Personally, I hope Hilary Clinton remains on a Sec. of State. John Kerry is needed in the Senate to continue his leadership role on Foreign Policy.

  124. Hi All

    First let me apologize if this is considered “showing off” but….

    The Pragmatic Progressive just published an article I wrote for them. I am so amazed they took it. I have never been a “guest” poster and would appreciate your feedback for what elements of the article worked and what I could do to improve.

    I know you are all busy, but if anyone has the time to go there, read the article, and if you are comfortable making a comment, that would be swell.

    BTW – I probably wouldn’t still be blogging if it wasn’t for this group. I had spent 2 months feeling like I wasn’t “liberal” enough or “witty” enough to be blogging. You guys gave me confidence. This place is like being hugged online. I never leave the blog without feeling hopeful and strong. Without you guys I might have gotten discouraged and just quit. I was so lucky to find you all.

  125. Very well said BWD! I too support the President for choosing “the path he took, despite the pressure.” But I also plead that people here should not turn on SoS Clinton for preferring a different approach. If we trust the President to make good decisions, then we must also respect his decision to select people on his team that he trusts will offer him independent and candid advice, that he may or may not follow.

  126. Don’t ever stop. You bring a lot of insight here and at you blog. Plus, puting up articles like the one at Pragmatic Progressive is the kind of thing we all need to do. A lot of people feel strongly about something but don’t know where to go to get info. You did a great job of collating sources of information plus giving suggestions for how to utilize the info.

  127. I have a different take on this. I think that sec clintonhas done an outstanding job and she is in the right position for now. I honestly thought that she was more suited for the supreme court given her stance on a number of issues such as healthcare and abortion. But the clintons value loyalty more than anything else and even pres clinton has been very helpful in his role as mentor and advisor to the pres.

  128. I meant no disrespect to voters who supported HRC. I used the term “Clintonistas” to refer to people who used to work in the Clinton Administration who have remained loyal to the Clintons through the years. Many of whom were castigating Pres. Obama over his handling of the Egyptian situation. Sorry if that offended you.

  129. Hi Nathan, I agree with you that the President finds it good to have people around him that may have different opinions and can express them…privately to him. It is not good, however, to take a public stand that is, in truth, vastly different to that of the man who employs and trusts you, or appears to go behind his back to do so. In this case, HRC appears to have done just that, and instead of siding with 80 million people who are fighting for their freedom and a democracy, she had the appearance of siding with a dictator. Now that is a vast difference between her public stance on the matter and the President’s. She has a responsibility to both present and represent what the President of the United States believes and says and wants, not what she may personally believe. Differences are private matters, not public.

  130. Not according to msnbc panelists and the star Richard Engel. He kept blabbering about how American, aka Obama, had let them down.

    What a bunch of snippers.


  132. Theo, I am a bit shocked that he recommended Bush’s book. I do not watch it as much as I used to. He got to be little bit too much of a lecturer.

    He tends to blow where the winds go.

  133. Thank you Zizi for posting this video. It needs to be seen by everyone, and especially those who are being misled by idiots like Glenn Beck.

  134. I agree Pamela. It almost seems to me that she is “motherly” toward him at times. I think they have a warm relationship. He admires her brains, strength and experience. She admires his brains, strength and vision.

    PBO has no problem with strong women. He was raised by two of them and is married to a third. I think he expects Hillary as well as his other advisers to challenge him, argue with him and give him differing opinions even if he doesn’t agree and does something entirely different in the end. He has an open mind.

    I consider this one of his most admirable qualities as well as his greatest strength as our President.

  135. I read about it in the paper last week. NYT, I think. I of course I immediately worried, but in the same breathe some things have to take some cuts.

    Here in Washington State, our Art Commission was put out of business and tons of other really important programs that support the poor and the elderly. People in those departments were actually in tears after finding out.

    What makes me angry is why the military is not making deeper cut than 78 billion–over ten years? I thought they were talking about a couple 100 billion in cuts. It is outrageous.

  136. Richard Engel was too close to the story and misread the frustration of the pro-democracy protesters.

    Even he couldn’t get in front of the truth:

    8.18pm GMT: NBC’s Richard Engel, who has done a brilliant job reporting from Egypt, gets the reaction to Obama’s words live from Tahrir Square, where he is mobbed by young men chanting Obama’s name and “We love America!”

  137. If we’re taking the bait on Obama vs Hillary, just think what the MSM will blow it up into. I can read the breathless “Will Hillary Clinton primary Obama in 2012” headlines and pundit babble already.

    I think Sec. Clinton has been doing a helluva job, and I think too much is being made of this possible disagreement. Where is the Biden vs Obama theories – afterall Biden went off the script and claimed Mubarak wasn’t a dictator. Message control is hard in something as free flowing as the Egypt Uprising.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t think this NYT story hurts the Administration – President Obama wants different opinions and this shows the other autocrats in the region that Clinton, Gates and Biden are folks they can reach out to, if they’re feeling skittish about the decision by America to back the protesters. This is a tricky situation, and there is a lot of uncertainty and people especially in that region don’t like uncertainty.

  138. While I too am a great admirer of Jimmy Carter, I have to disagree with you here. The differences between the 39th and 44th POTUSs, stylistic and substantial alike, are just as numerous and glaring as any similarities. Both are deeply admirable men, but for very different reasons. President Carter, for all that he proved as President to be a far-sighted, even visionary, statesman, was brought low more than anything else due to the fact that he was a terrible politician and a woefully ineffective Chief Executive, the very antithesis of President Obama, who is a masterful politician and possibly the most effective Chief Executive since the Long Sixties.

    At the end of the day, President Carter had nobody except himself to blame for the lousy relations that he had with Congress in general, and his own party in particular (it was Tip O’Neil’s poinion that even Richard Nixon had treated the Democratic leadership with more respect). And for all that many of the policy positions were laudable, as has been his post-presidential career, I personally lay a great deal of blame at Carter’s door for allowing the very conditions to develop under which the “Reagan Revolution” (which would be better described as an “Anti-Carter Revolution”) was possible as a political phenomenon.

    Contrary to popular perception, Senator Ted Kennedy was actuallly a loyal supporter of Carter throughout much of his administration – voting in favor of his initiatives on a regular basis. At the end of the day however, he brroke with the administration and tried to rest leadership of the Party from it – not so much because of jealousy as because he recognized that dumping Carter was the only way that the remnants of the Roosevelt Coalition could be effectively rallied for a stand against the forces of conservatism. Had he been nominated, then he probably would have had a far better chance than Carter of beating Reagan and sparing America the horrors of the 1980s and beyond. As it was however, Carter stayed on, and the 1980 Election dealt to the Roosevelt Coalition a mortal blow.

    Although certain similarities can be noted, not only between President Obama and President Carter, but also with Presidents Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, and even Roosevelt, it is at the end of the day specious to label any of those similarities as definitive. President Obama is at his core something very unique and original in American politics, and that has beeen the key to his success thhus far, and will continue to be so in the future.

  139. I just added to this by buying my shoes and sandals here in Las Vegas.

    Later this week I’ll buy a pair of shorts.

    While President Obama might think it is not right for Americans to spend their savings in Las Vegas – for foreigners, of course, it is 🙂

  140. This whole debate about Hillary Clinton’s relationship with the President reminds me of something I read in 2008 about Joe Biden. When asked if he wanted to be the VP candidate, Biden told then Senator Obama that he would agree, provided that he would always be a part of every important decision. What he said was that he wanted to have uncensored input and if, as President, Mr. Obama decided to go against his advice, he, Mr. Biden, would support the President’s decision. I believe this is the way it has always been between not only the two of them but between President Obama and all his advisers and cabinet members. He will listen and evaluate every point of view, but in the end when a decision is made, it will be the administration’s decision and policy. I see no reason why this would change now. Secretary Clinton may have had other priorities in mind, but the decision made by President Obama will stand as the smart one and the right one and the benefits from his careful, principled approach cannot even be estimated in the immediate aftermath of the crisis but will be felt for a very long time.

  141. Thank you, Eric, that was classy. And I will add my final comment, or feel remiss: the expression “off the reservation” is hurtful to my NA friends.

    Thank you all for your feedback on a difficult article. Namaste.

  142. The basic problem with this analysis is that it only focuses on cuts in spending as a means of reducing the deficit.

    Under Keynesian economics, it is important to consider the increased income of the state due to increased tax income, not by raising tax rates, but simply because more people and more corporations are earning more money.

    Of course, this assumes that all these taxes are paid.

  143. I’m heading out for some fattening cake and ice cream (forgive me First Lady!).

    I was positively surprise to see a poster of at a local bus stop here in Las Vegas, featuring a guy with a skate board and a title along the lines of “You can play for an hour”.

    Let’s hope it works !

  144. Very nicely stated Nathan. I almost caught myself jumping into the old arguments in terms of Clinton vs Obama.

    Hillary Clinton indeed has world wide recognition and a great deal of experience.

    I will try to remember President Obama picked her, and I will respect his decision.

    He seems to be doing a good job in that regard.

  145. Oh, FiredUp, thank you for that link. I had heard about that happening, but I had not found the source.

  146. Well said, Theo, and it needs saying, over and over. We need to stop being so defensive to RW talking points, instead of simply reframing the conversation.

  147. Not surprised. The entire health care reform was based on the GOP plan from 1994 and suddenly that was derided as Maoism.

    And now the GOP is toying with Gingrich to come back to D.C. and do what exactly? The whole lot of them are weak, foolish and prey solely on fear. In this they are in common cause with the press who use fear to motivate audience every single day (“Are your household pets killing you? News at 10”).

    The only way to keep your sanity about politics is to check in every three months and ask “what did they actually accomplish” rather than hanging on every prediction by a media hungry narcissist recently elected from the tax-phobic heartland of America.

  148. I am an older lady (69) so i remember the John Kerry of 1971. Even though the “suits” got hold of him and turned him into a caricature in 2004, I won’t forget his congressional testimony. Neither will he, IMO.

  149. Totally agree. Most of what we hear from the left and right in the media are different people saying the same thing “If I was king of the world I would do…..”

    Most of the people looking for attention in the media are peddling one form or another of authoritarian solution for all the problems in the world. This is why DKos and Hamsher sound so wrong-headed for all of us here. They don’t have faith in democracy because sometimes the other side wins the day. They find that intolerable. But since radical statements tickle the fancy of the media, these people get a disproportionate amount of media face time.

    PBO impresses me as being consistently a believer in democracy and that the give and take of the democratic process achieves the results the people want. For this he gets berated as “weak” because he believes in the structure of our democracy, and does not believe in crushing his ideological opposites with a righteous holy fury.

  150. Thanks, Jovie. This Arizonan stands with the First Lady on this and I am glad she is quietly doing what she does so well – help people to see her husband in a human light.

  151. Thank you Proud of Obama for posting Zakaria’s comments. I really commend him for his informed analysis. I was actually thinking of writing a commentary, on the same lines, to compare the response of Pres. Obama to people’s revolt in Egypt to those of: Pres. Carter’s response to the Iranian revolt against the Shah; President Reagan’s response to the revolt against Marcos in the Philippines; President Bush Sr’s response to Tienaman Revolt in China; and President Clinton’s response to the Indonesian revolt against Suharto.

    I agree with you that President Obama has not “switched policies,” because he still regards Egypt as a key ally of the U.S. I think the significant change, compared to the other Presidents, was how quickly President Obama recognized the historical nature of the revolt and sided with the people of Egypt instead of siding with the oppressive dictator, even though that dictator was considered a friend of the U.S. What the President did in this situation was grasp reality: Egypt is about Egyptian people and not the Mubarak regime, even though it was viewed as friendly to the U.S. Supporting Mubarak, against the desires of the Egyptian people, would have increased the likely hood of destructive violence. It certainly would have embittered the vast majority of Egyptians who would see the U.S. not as a friend, but as the enemy.

  152. Keep it up, girlfriend. You are an important dedicated voice that needs to be heard. Brilliant piece. Thanks for all your hard work.

  153. I just want to chime in here to say that I find this thread of comments to be highly enjoyable, very adult and respectful of differing viewpoints and a huge improvement over other orange sites that used to talk about progressive politics.

    You all deserve a round of applause. Thanks for making my evening.

  154. I think the important thing to keep in mind is there was a rift and PBO straddled it in the best way imaginable. What happens going forward remains to be seen but PBO is in charge of the forward thrust of his foreign policy. His judgement and intuition is on the mark. I support and trust all his efforts.

  155. Indeed. Differences of opinion are necessary for good decisions. But as the President told O’Reilly last week, every word can become an international incident, or affect the entire word. Differences should end when they leave the Oval Office or Situation Room. The issue arises when the messaging on the outside follows a different agenda than that of the President. If they weren’t clear on the message, then they should have gone back to clarify. As it happened, things looked confused and made the situation that much more difficult.

  156. Absolutely !

    We’ve had enough of the “cowboy shoot from the hip” crap. Thank goodness for a President he THINKS !

  157. Do you all remember those add’s about a 3 AM phone call by the Clinton campaign? Well we see now who answered in the proper way and how He makes a decision and sticks to it. Our President runs the ship of state with a clear view and a steady hand. He guides us with true clear vision of what history calls for just stay the course. Keep the prayers going He needs all the help can get to keep the slow thinkers from throwing things off course.

  158. Japa21:

    I share your sentiments. The President respects Hillary Clinton and that is why he selected her to be SoS. Moreover, the President solicits, listens and respects views that are contrary to his own. In the end, he is the one that has to make the final decision. I love BWD’s blog and respect all the sane and knowledgeable people who comment on this site. Today, however, I have been a bit disturbed by what, in my opinion, is the unfair attacks on SoS Clinton. As I said in an earlier comment, I think Sec. Clinton has been doing a superb job. Moreover she is highly regarded by the President as well as many world leaders. The fact that she may have proposed a different approach is in no way indicative of her intending to undermine the President.

    I think we all must heed your wise advice: “We don’t know the whole story behind the events leading up to now, and I think we should avoid making judgments without all the the facts.”

    It is comments like yours that really attracted me to this site. We can vigorously disagree with Sec. Clinton’s position but let us not stoop so low to start calling her names, or questioning her motives without any factual foundation.

  159. I didn’t even realize who had said it. Just remembered I had read it somewhere. No apology needed. My Lakota group is chanting and sending me healing blessings – I really wanted to put it that reminder in writing in return for their efforts. Your cat is just beautiful, BTW.

  160. Congrats WiW. I am so happy to see your article published at TPP. Your article is full of useful info. I have Shared on Facebook and with the OFA blog.

  161. ECl, it was a bit of a rash statement. At moments, we all tend to over react to certain information.

    The bigger picture should always be included in any statement about the past.

  162. I am not young anymore (I still can’t understand how that happened), but President Obama was right; go with the young people. They are the future, the same is true here.

    I do hope that the young people will rise in this country (the US), if things do go badly with the gov’t here.

    When I was in college, we protested regularly against Reagan, who had just gotten elected. I could just not believe or comprehend how this guy got elected and was so beloved. I understand it all too clearly now and it’s not good.

    President Obama is absolutely right. The young are still hopeful and strong and not “practical” (cynical). Things can still change and it is very important to support that.

    It is dangerous, no doubt about that, but in the last 30 years, we have witnessed a number of regimes that have fallen, and the young people have been at the forefront.

    Stay young.

  163. Hi WIW
    I thought the item was excellent! I am forwarding the link to my Obama group. So many people really need concrete info on the healthcare bill.

    BTW, I love your diligence and willingness to contribute and your bright ideas.
    Take care and keep up the good work.

  164. A lot of the reason I voted for our President is upon reading his two main books I sided with his arguments on issues. I especially appreciated his views on foreign affairs. I thought his undergrad degree in Foreign Relations and his law degree along with teaching Constitutional Law made him perfect for handling world crisis. I am not worried that we will have someone that is a hot head there ready to invade every place to show how tough we are with him as President. I know he will use diplomacy first and gather input from others but not just use that advice to act on but to thoroughly weigh all sides of the issue. He reminds me of JFK when he did not pursue the advice of his military chiefs.

  165. The problem with punditz like hebert, rich is they swing from one opinion on one day to another opinion column by column. No long-term perspective on anything. All emo based on that day’s/week’s poutrage/performance of the Prez. They’re all too president centric and not policy centric.

    I never trust any of them so called talking/writing heads.

  166. Then President Elect chose to take the advice of President Lincoln then told in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book A Team of Rivals. He was openly criticized for picking people for his cabinet that represented all sides. He wanted every side of issues represented in his counsel inorder to make informed decisions. People from his own party were most vocal about his choices. We who supported him most closely criticized his choice of Hillary for Secretary of State. We were nervous about it after a hard fought campaign. We have seen the wisdom of his choice as he is the CIC and is the decider.

  167. LOL @

    “his relentless pursuit of the lowest common denominator”.

    Perfect description of this cretin.

  168. Saint Roscoe- the info on Mitch Daniels is really important. Didn’t realize that it was Daniels who supervised the squandering of the surplus. I hope that news goes viral. Especially since he’s trying to pass himself off as a reasonable, low spending person, who deserves the top job in the White House. Thanks!

  169. For me, what it comes down to is that it’s apparent that President Obama does not mind differences of opinion – even vigorous ones – in his administration, but he makes the final call on it. It’s not surprising that there were some mixed messages, and that things would be at times chaotic. It was a very fluid and chaotic situation they were dealing with.

  170. Urging non-violence from both sides was the reason the Egypt movement won, imo. Al Giordano once wrote a piece on how violent demonstrations, however justified they may be, would turn off many people in this day & age of 24×7 news-a-palooza.

    The Egyptian protesters played it extremely smartly by co-opting the army and thus forcing their hand not to use force, which is what armies are wont to do.

    As Hillary calling this momentous event wrong, I would just attribute to the political environment she grew in and let it go.

    With 2012 looming in rear view mirror, I would rather focus on getting this President getting re-elected.

  171. During the last 3 weeks of Egyptian protest I saw the Egyptian Christians encircle the Muslims during prayer time. Then later the Muslims encircled the Christians during their prayer time. This is ingrained in my memory as a joyous sight and it showed how people of different faiths can be respectful of one another just like our President has always been respectful of others even when they have not shown respect for him. He lives his ideals that is what makes him so incredible.

  172. chitra

    “I am not a good writer”.

    You were kidding right ? 🙂

    Excellent story of realizing the great american dream. Congrats on your achievement.

    I too was on graduate fellowship in US in 1983-85, when the Carter raygun transition happened, breaking my heart. I had even campaigned for Carter though I didn’t know much about american politics then. It was a wonderful as well as a sad memory for me.

  173. Thank you for this comment. Brilliant historical analysis, and I appreciate your writing — so vivid and detailed. Invaluable contributions!

  174. I’m not a big fan of either Clintons, but I do think there may be some overeaching on this issue.

  175. I think President Obama understands the poor and oppressed better than many of the other politicians do. I think the background of working as a community organizer has helped him understand this situation better than most. When he was working with people that had lost their jobs and homes he worked to empower them to learn how to advocate for themselves. He can understand their needs and issues from his own background.

    When my children were in high school, college and one of them in law school they participated in exchanges and internships in foreign countries. They traveled extensively throughout the world the summers prior and after their blocks of time living out of the country. They still keep in contact through emails and facebook today. The instant communication has brought the world and ideas closer and more plausible to the younger generation. I applaud nonviolent protest to change a nonhumane situation. I view it as a better choice than a war.

  176. I should have said they keep in contact with those they met abroad today. They of course keep in contact with me.

  177. Fully agreed on the narcissism of the Clintons. I think they’re both scary smart, but I don’t always trust them to do the right thing.

  178. The problem with Kerry being the SOS is we cannot afford to lose another Senator in the Senate. Everytime a place opens up it is a chance of a GOP filling the spot and as close as the Senate is we do not want to lose control of it.

  179. There are going to be MASSIVE demonstrations throughout Wisconsin on Tuesday and Wednesday – and university students have already created Facebook sites to support public servants/employees. A recall movement of Gov. Walker already has half a million signatures.

    Going to be interesting…..

  180. It’s also important that Gates, Biden, and Clinton were all furiously working the back channels, pushing the military to protect the protesters, reassuring allies (Israel, Jordan), coordinating with European leaders, laying the groundwork for Mubarak to leave. Part of the delay was Mubarak’s stalling for time to move all his assets. Our president wants a strong team who will disagree with him when they see things differently so that he has options and can make the best decision. Look at what a mess the group think of the Bush administration created. (See the movie, Fair Play). I am thankful he has such a strong team!

  181. Majii: ‘They talk a good game, but when it comes to allowing their beliefs/principles to play out in real time, their faith in what they believe seems to abandon/elude them.’

    Tao: ‘PBO impresses me as being consistently a believer in democracy’

    This is what I was trying to say near the end of the previous thread –

    ‘This is the very first President/political leader I’ve encountered who exudes a really strong desire for world peace, a rock solid belief that people have a right to freedom and self-expression, AND seems determined to work towards achieving this end.’

    – the President seems willing to stand behind his belief, and to lead the USA to do the same. However, he is working within a political framework that talked a greater game than it played, and the integral change he is trying to make to this approach is new to Washington, I think. So, of course the old guard will fall back to doing what it’s used to. The teacher, oops President, has more work to do to show them he means to stand behind what he says he believes – integrity in action. I refuse to believe that he’d penalize them for not understanding this the first time they’ve been in a really volatile, fast moving situation together.

    Frankly, with no wish to offend, I believe we ourselves do the President a disservice when we lament over his personnel choices and debate what he should (/should not) have done (just like the pundits, etc do). I’m beginning to ask myself – do we or do we not respect his leadership and vision? Do we, or do we not, feel he is doing a great job? We either believe he’s more than capable – gifted even – or WE JUST SAY WE DO as a talking point. Notice what he did when HRC et al were way off message? He stepped in and redirected the message to where he wanted it. I don’t remember him stepping in this way in previous situations (ex in HCR), so I can only assume that he felt the situation was way too volatile /urgently crucial to let the ‘wrong’ message float out there for too long. IMO we should just let the man do his part – lead, and we do our part – SUPPORT and canvass, with less of the pontificating about his methods and his directions. Trust to me implies giving him the benefit of the doubt when doubts arise; none of this second guessing stuff. IMO we either trust him or we don’t. Do we really?

  182. Agree Theo67, but also feel John Boehner is failing to demonstrate leadership. Goes along to get along with the crazy baggers, facts aren’t his responsibility.
    Boehner is so lacking….it’s rather sad.

  183. I found this on the Obama Diary and would really like to see it employed as often as possible to keep those awful ‘related’ videos from showing up when people embed youtube vids here.

    These ‘related’ videos are automatically generated by YouTube, needless to say I wasn’t promoting them!

    I finally found a way to block them – for any of you who post videos on blogs, just add &rel=0 (that’s a zero, not the letter o) to the end of the url for the YouTube video and they won’t show up.

  184. If you watch the DNC ad on Obama Diary that contrasts the CPAC speeches with the SOTU, you hear one person calling the Department of Education repressive.

    Question: Why do the Republicans think the Department of Education is repressive?

  185. I can just imagine their spin. This is why I do not give the corporate pundits none of my time. They might have their big degrees and know big words but they are nothing more than paid suits, with no common sense. I go by what I see with my own eyes.

  186. Sorry been out and about and did not see your comment revgerry. I have book marked it for an in depth reading first thing in the morning and will drop you a comment there. Nice to see ya doing what you do. I like this line too:

    “It was the moral force of non-violence that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.” ~PBO

  187. Hi Overseasgranny, Thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment. I think you make a very good point that SoS Clinton should not have voiced a position in public that seemed to contradict that of the President. May be I am mistaken, but I did not read her statement, emphasizing the importance of orderly and meaningful transition, albeit with Hosni Mubarak still President, as being that diametrically opposed to what the President had said previously. I also remember her saying that changes have to begin immediately.
    In any case, she did make a mistake of voicing a position that appeared to contradict the President’s and thus helped feed the critics that the Administration had no coherent policy. I have absolutely no quarrel with people criticizing her for messing up the message, especially since her statement, as you said,”had the appearance of siding with a dictator.”
    What I find troubling, however, are comments that seem to suggest some nefarious motives on her part; or comments that suggest she has not been a good SoS and want to see her replaced. Moreover, I also think that we don’t know all the facts and we aught to be humble enough to not quickly jump to conclusions.
    The reason I detested the other so called progressive blogs that would chime in unison, bashing the President, was because they usually based their hyperventilating outrages on skimpy or flimsy information that was either incomplete or unsubstantiated. Before I jump on SoS Clinton, I would like to hear from both her and the President to confirm that she had egregiously violated her responsibility to represent the President.
    Look I’ve been a dedicated supporter of President Obama and I applauded his courageous decision to go against the conventional wisdom of the Foreign Policy Establishment, which always puts U.S. Interest above everything else. It is no secret that the Establishment is scared to lose a reliable ally in Hosni Mubarak. But I am very proud that President Obama chose to make alliance with the Egyptian people rather than supporting a repressive dictator. In the long run having the friendship of the vast majority of Egyptian people is going to be more beneficial than relying on a repressive strong man. But, please keep in mind that good people may have been genuinely concerned about replacing the “devil” they know with the possibility of the “devil” they don’t know. Please don’t get me wrong because I have really been impressed with the nonviolent revolt of the Egyptian people and especially those really savvy young people who know how to use modern technology to mobilize. The courage of the Egyptian people reminded me of the nonviolent Civil Rights movement in this country, which was also led by young people.
    Nevertheless, on the flip side, I also distinctly remember the euphoria I felt when the despotic Shah of Iran was deposed. But that euphoria was quickly dissipated by the despotic regime that replaced the Shah. May be VP Biden, who I trust completely, and SoS Clinton were legitimately concerned in trying to make sure that Egypt doesn’t end up like Iran. Obviously this may be an unfounded fear, but no one can absolutely argue that their concerns were without merit.
    Bottom line, I think it is legitimate to criticize SoS Clinton for appearing to contradict the President in public. But that does not mean that this was some kind machinations on her part and her supporters to undermine the president. Until I see concrete evidence that suggests otherwise, I am just not willing to subscribe to divisiveness that suggests that the SoS, chosen by the President himself, is now, all of sudden, the President’s enemy. I really trust that all the reasonable people that BWD has inspired to come to this site are much better than all those flame throwers from the other sites, such as the one where she was hounded from for telling the Truth about the President’s accomplishments.

  188. Again, I agree with you almost 100%.

    “But that does not mean that this was some kind machinations on her part and her supporters to undermine the president. Until I see concrete evidence that suggests otherwise, I am just not willing to subscribe to divisiveness that suggests that the SoS, chosen by the President himself, is now, all of sudden, the President’s enemy.”

    I am not talking about back-stabbing for personal benefit. What I am talking about is a certain lack of good judgement, or as Theo67 so wisely said above:

    “Differences should end when they leave the Oval Office or Situation Room. The issue arises when the messaging on the outside follows a different agenda than that of the President. If they weren’t clear on the message, then they should have gone back to clarify.”

    Whether the lack of good judgement comes with speaking publicly off message or not even realizing they do not have a real grasp of PBO’s policy, it is still lack of good judgement. I trust PBO completely, but HCR?…not 100% to make the right decisions.

  189. Axrendale:

    Thank you for this incisive commentary. Your command of history is breathtaking; especially for some of us oldies who lived under the presidents you analyzed. Just one minor disagreement: I think If Democrats had embraced Jimmy Carter the country would have been saved from the rabid right wing idiocy that started with Saint Ronnie Reagan and is now beyond recognition, so far as Conservatism is concerned. I am even certain that if Barry Goldwater were alive today he would not relate to the conservatism of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Steve King, Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, and all those Teabaggers in Congress.

    Look, I feel personally responsible because I actively supported Ted Kennedy over Jimmy Carter. However, may be because of age, and may be because of hind sight I now deeply regret my decision. I loved and respected Teddy Kennedy and believed he would have been a great President. But, I am now convinced that we Democrats made a terrible mistake of not uniting behind President Carter because we were looking for a perfect Democrat.

    You are absolutely right that President Carter was not a great politician, or a great communicator. Nevertheless, he was a visionary president, especially when it came to foreign policy and the need for energy conservation. After all, he is the only President who was able to broke a peace treaty between Israel and her most formidable Arab enemy, Egypt. It is true that President Carter’s response to the Iranian revolt was not astute as it should have been. Still, he courageously opted to pursue peace rather war against Iran, following the taking of American hostages from the U.S. Embassy. For that, I am grateful that we had a sober and caring president who was not willing to sacrifice the lives of young people in pursuit of being viewed as a great president.

    Otherwise, I think your conclusion, cautioning us not to read too much in what appears to be similarities among the presidents you listed, is spot on. Having lived under nine presidents, I agree with you that President Obama is, in many ways, unique and original. But then again this is probably true of all the other Presidents.

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