Old Globe Map 1596, Pragmatic Progress is Still Progress

Old Globe Map 1596

I honestly did not plan it this way, but today’s graphic is a reminder that things change and that even in the age of the internet, substantive change usually does not happen overnight.

Ever seen one of those sand sculpture contests at the beach. I’m amazed by them. They can take hours, if not most of a day to build. Some rowdy kids or a wave can destroy them in minutes. George W. Bush, who had something of a head start from Ronald Reagan, trampled over traditional American ideals of justice. law and morality. Over the course of fifty years of dedication from uber conservatives, regardless of wining or losing this or that election or losing ground on a particular issue, the far Right political machine, remained devoted to the cause of a form of soft fascism, crony capitalism, eliminationism, corruption, misogyny, greed and the repeal of every progressive piece of legislation that has made us a nation that the world envied. Moderate to liberal voters are perplexed to angry that President Obama cannot rebuild and undo all the damage in one year. Liberals impatience is relatively easy to deal with compared to the collective short memory of Republicans and independents. 2000 to 2008? Never happened. They’ve either gone for the complete psychological denial make-over – the lipstick on a pig phenomenon in plain view – the tea baggers. Or they’re just ordinary dipsticks that do not have the character to own up to their role as enablers – Newt Gingrich, Michelle Malkin, the freepers, Bill O’Reilly, The National Review, Fox News in general, the RNC, Michael Steele and on and on. Whoever said everything is political had some insights, but they didn’t go deep enough. Everything is managed perception and psychology. Thus we’re at the point where Conservatives claim over and over after a mere 365 days that this president is a disaster and the country is going to hell in a hand basket and many liberals give a slightly distorted echo of the same message. It’s not the liberal critics who are part of the problem, it’s the way they shape the message. The message is hyperbolic. Take a lesson from conservatives. Bush’s poll numbers were not great until 9-11, after which they stayed up until about the second year of his second term. Even as Bush became a pariah the criticism from the Right never reached the fever pitch liberals now attack Obama ( Regardless of Bush’s repeated catastrophic screw-ups the Right defended him). I’m not suggesting that kind of cult of personality for Obama, Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi – the issue is, has constructive criticism become a lost art. With today’s election in Massachusetts in mind, some liberals might want to rediscover that fine art of pointing out fault without setting the ship on fire.  Towards the end of this column is an example of what I mean, Obama’s green achievements at 100 days. Here’s some good achievements, here’s some items which could use some improvement. No use of the phrases Bush-lite or Bush’s third term. There is a liberal blog that I read a few times a week that opened one post with, and I paraphrase, the claim President Obama had accomplished nothing, nil, nada. There have been times over the past few months, because of both the tea baggers and some liberals, that I have wished McCain would have won. We’d still be in Iraq ( maybe for a thousand years – Obama is adhering to a withdrawal timetable) and Afghanistan. There would be “nada” health care reform. We would still have had TARP and some kind of stimulus package – and knowing McCain’s grasp of economics – the country would not be hanging on the cliff edge on the verge of a shaky recovery, we’d be in the gutter.

I may never forgive Andrew Sullivan for at one time being part of the Bush cult, but as of late he seems more rational then he used to be, Obama’s Substantive First Year II

“From the moment he gave his election night victory speech, Obama has been signaling great caution in the face of immense challenges. The tone is humble… He is not a messiah and does not act or speak like one. He’s a traditionalist in many ways.”

A year on, that seems like a good call to me. Those on the left who foolishly saw him as a revolutionary are in a major sulk right now. Those on the right who still see him as a leftist ideologue keep railing against the reality in front of their eyes – as if contemplating a small-c conservative black Democratic president is too much for their brains to grasp. To those who hadn’t observed or read or listened closely enough to Obama, the first year therefore remains a baffling record. But to my mind, it is almost exactly what I expected and yet much more than I could have hoped for.

Obama is a liberal pragmatist in politics and a traditional conservative in his understanding of the presidency. Once you grasp this, his first year makes much more sense.

He has marshalled conservative constitutional norms – against the radical claims of Bush and Cheney with respect to the presidency – in defense of a liberal restoration of the importance of government. This has made for a frustrating year for those who want instant results – because he has often deferred to Congress; or those who want short-term tactical political coups – because he prefers strategy to tactics. But for anyone taking the long view, it is hard to see where Obama has really gone wrong.

After this paragraph Sully goes on to make the Obama is not cleaning up the mess that conservatives like Andrew had a hand in making fast enough doggerel.

The Libertarian candidate in Massachusetts may be the Brown spoiler.

Stuart Varney Plays Health Care Hack at Fox Propaganda Network

On Fox & Friends, Fox business contributor Stuart Varney claimed President Obama is “wrong” to believe health care reform legislation will reduce the deficit and added, “You’re going to have 10 years of taxes, and you’re only going to have six years of benefits in that first 10 years. You’re rigging the numbers to make it look like it’s going to be financially beneficial.” However, the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyses of the health care reform bills estimate that the legislation will not only reduce deficits through 2019, but will continue to reduce deficits in the subsequent decade.

Lots of U.S. GDP goes down the hole because of health care costs. Once again Democrats have a plan to save money, help business growth, create jobs and some Democrats are reluctant to use those facts. Progressives (and Obama) are Doing Better Than We Think — and We Won’t Know What We’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone