First lady Michelle Obama hugs Lianyun Wu during an awards ceremony for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in the East Room at the White House on November 19. The first lady talked about the importance of afterschool and out of school arts and humanities education and presented awards recognizing programs across the country that benefit underserved youth
Jon Taplin (TPM): Barack Obama learned a political trick from Muhammad Ali called Rope a Dope. For you youngsters, this refers to the epic Rumble in the Jungle Heavyweight fight against George Foreman in 1974….
Last summer during the debt ceiling hostage crisis, Obama appeared to be the loser, but yesterday Republicans woke up to the reality that they lost Big Time – that we were going to get $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions, with 50% of the cuts coming from the military and none of the cuts from Social Security and Medicare. The Congressional water carriers for the Military Industrial Complex are in a panic.
…. So why aren’t progressives celebrating this morning? Got me … If you had suggested to me last spring that a Republican House would pass a bill cutting $600 billion from the Pentagon budget over ten years, I would have called you crazy. But that is just what happened.
So there is only one election that matters a year from now. And that is that President Obama will be reelected and able to keep his veto threat….
This is an amazing victory and all we have to do to hold on to it is reelect the President.
The Hill: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Tuesday that President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package continues to benefit the struggling economy.
…. By CBO’s numbers, the $800 billion stimulus added up to 0.9 million jobs in 2009, 3.3 million jobs in 2010 and 2.6 million jobs in 2011. As the effects of the stimulus wind down, Obama has been pushing Congress to enact a $447 billion jobs bill that includes infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
Steve Benen: Romney’s willingness to lie to voters raises important questions about his integrity, but the question now becomes whether television stations will participate in the lie by airing a spot that’s proven to be deceptive.
Steve Benen: President Obama’s week-long trip to Asia didn’t generate a lot of attention from the domestic media, and based on Walter Russell Mead’s description, that’s a real shame. Americans have every reason to be pleased with the results of the president’s successful efforts:
The cascade of statements, deployments, agreements and announcements from the United States and its regional associates in the last week has to be one of the most unpleasant shocks for China’s leadership – ever …. Rarely has a great power been so provoked and affronted. Rarely have so many red lines been crossed. Rarely has so much face been lost, so fast…. [I]t was as decisive a diplomatic victory as anyone is likely to see. Congratulations should go to President Obama and his national security team.
…. I suspect the number of Americans who’ll vote in 2012 based on foreign policy can meet in a broom closet, but it’s getting tougher for even the harshest White House critics to deny President Obama’s impressive record on foreign policy…..
Andrew Sullivan: The one thing I noticed in my continental run-around this past week is just how mad liberals are at Obama. I remain as baffled by this anger as I am by Republican contempt for the guy. New York magazine has two superb essays that sum up my own feelings on both sides pretty perfectly – by Jon Chait and David Frum. Chait notes how systemic and eternal liberal disenchantment is, and how congenitally useless Democrats are in rallying round a leader, even one who has achieved so much in such a short time.
Many Dems even now think Clinton was more successful in fighting the GOP in his first term than Obama has been. (Memo to the left: universal healthcare was achieved under Obama). But much of this is the usual Democratic limpness and whininess. If George Bush had taken out Osama bin Laden, wiped out al Qaeda’s leadership and gathered a treasure trove of real intelligence by a daring raid, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now. If he’d done the equivalent on the right of universal healthcare, he’d be the second coming of Reagan. But Obama and liberals? If I hear one more gripe about single payer from someone in their fifties with a ponytail, I’ll scream.
… I remain unrepentant in my support for this president, a man who has accomplished more in the face of a more hostile environment in his first three years than any president since Johnson. I wish more reasonable Dems and a few moderate Republicans will soon have the courage to say so.
Robert Shrum: …. In a New York Times blog post titled “Decision 2013,” Emory University psychology professor Drew Westen offers strong opinions about the shortcomings of a president “tied up in knots of indecision” ….
…. It is a scathing indictment from someone who plainly feels his counsel and wisdom have been scorned. It is also a stunning repudiation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s insistence that people are entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
…. Westen launches an overall indictment of the president’s character – Obama is a president frozen in the ice of his own intellect, too logical, too rational, too disconnected from emotions …. the portrayal here of Obama is far removed from reality.
Ask Osama bin Laden if the president is indecisive. As for delay, health care reform was delayed for a century – and Obama passed it. The economy continues to be troubled, but Obama saved it from disaster … Financial reform, student loan reform, credit card reform, the greatest infrastructure investment in a generation – the list goes on. These are not the markers of indecision and delay. Nor is something else progressive critics thought Obama could never achieve. It was Bill Clinton, who famously felt our pain, who inflicted plenty of it by signing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law. It was Obama who repealed it with a masterful sense of timing and a cool and rational approach to the Pentagon.
That is a hallmark of his presidency. An effective president can’t be just a partisan, appealing solely to the base. But Obama has delivered more progressive change than anyone at anytime since the 1960s. He hasn’t, as Westen writes, “just run out the clock.” He’s moved history ahead….
I never expected an easy ride for this President. No doubt, he is a different kind of leader. His problem is not that he is controversial, but that he is so insistent upon values that define what is best about our traditions and our history.
How often have we heard him exclaim “that’s who we are” as Americans when speaking of the mutualism of citizenship. He will cite “E pluribus unum” to celebrate equal rights and equal opportunity as well as responsibility for one another. He will insist that we are indeed “our brother’s and our sister’s keeper”. That’s not just a phrase for him, that’s a core belief.
With that in mind, of course he will be the President of all the people all the time. He will treat all citizens with the same unfailing civility and regard, including those who do not respond in kind.
He will take pains to understand the points of view he does not share, not because he is lacking conviction, but because he will always attempt to find some common ground as a base for discussion and negotiation.
The outcome of such negotiations must always meet the test of “who we are”. Or, in the case of the arrogant dismissal of such things as the Geneva convention, he will say “that’s NOT who we are” and insist upon making our actions match our values.
There are those who dismiss this as “elitism” or as somehow ill-conceived and unrealistic, but it is this same clear evidence of character that people value most about this greatest of all Presidents. And that will prevail over all self-centered political grandstanding and furor, over envy, racism and contempt because all of those manifestations fail the test of “who we are”.
Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Here’s why the supercommittee is failing, in one sentence: Democrats wanted the rich to pay more in taxes towards deficit reduction, and Republicans wanted the rich to pay less in taxes towards deficit reduction.
Any news outlet that doesn’t convey this basic fact to readers and viewers with total clarity is obscuring, rather than illuminating, what actually happened here.
Paul Begala: What’s next? The Santorum Surge? The Huntsman Hiccup? Why Newt Gingrich would be a godsend to the Democrats.
…. More likely the Gingrich surge is just the latest Republican tulip craze …. with Newt simply serving as the latest vessel for the ABR movement: Anybody But Romney.
….. like MacArthur, Newt has returned. I, for one, could not be happier – but then again, I’m a Democrat, so I have to take my political pleasures where I can find them….
…. I fear the dream won’t last, alas. At some point Republicans will wise up and nominate the zillionaire layoff artist with the square jaw and the Slinky spine. But I’ve been saying that all year, and I’ve been wrong all year.
I really can’t imagine how it must pain Mitt Romney …. What does the guy have to do to win? He’s changed so many of his deeply held convictions that he’s reduced to bragging that he hasn’t changed wives or religions. Newt has changed wives and religions, and the base still likes him better than Romney….