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02 August 2011


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Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

For him, being something is more important than doing something.

Seems to be a very apt observation Colonel.


William R. Cumming

Time and again this Administration's negotiation tactics have been to bid against their own positions.

steve kaczecka

He should have declared a national emergency when he took office.He could have taken bold steps to get people back to work. Workers pay taxes and spend money.Instead he followed the Herbert Hoover game plan.


I liked John Stewart's take, he set himself up to fold back in December, as was pointed out by an astute reporter.

Dear Colonel: Nail on.

Strange thing is that IMO, his actions seriously hurt his ability to continue to be (unemployment and all that, which I think the GOP understands well), and probably sinks his own party too.

Makes a good Greek tragedy, which is less enjoyable from inside.

"Tragedy depicts the downfall of a noble hero or heroine, usually through some combination of hubris, fate, and the will of the gods."

His noble-ness was spread wide and far by the media, the flaws are all too apparent, and . . .



Do you think he's following the old axiom of BEE SUMBDY, ANYBDY JUST BEE SUMBDY? It does look that way doesn't it.

How's retd. life treating ya, whole different feeling isn't it. Now you can wrinkle yer nose, twist yer knickers in a knot, and not have to worry about the constipation that goes with mres, or carry a P38 with you just in case you run across an old c-rats package stuffed in a warehouse that they took out of its hole. Now a P38 is an 'optional' item to carry. Ain't it grand?


I am just soooo overjoyed I can pull my cheeks knowing that this whole circus 'has been promised' to be repeated in two years. Mitch McConnell has told U.S. so.

Maureen Lang

Apt observations indeed, Pat. Watching the debt ceiling "negotiations" this past week has been a disheartening affair to say the least.

A friend emailed me after PBO's little speech Sunday night that she wouldn't have Obama negotiate for her at a swap meet. Another email followed quoting Krugman's NYT blog to the effect that any poker player would certainly love to have PBO at the table. You'd clean up on every hand because he always folds.

Bill H.

A guest on Last Word suggested that several months before the deadline Obama could have begun "making preparations" for a pending default by "not paying unnecessary bills" to save up for the event. Closing national parks, for instance, and suspending other "non-essential" government services to save money to pay interest once the debt ceiling hit the wall. Calls to legislators would have changed the tune in Washington by quite a bit.


You have described leadership, Obama is a speech giver, not a leader.

" Obama's fatal flaw in character " This was apparent in multiple prior issues, Gitmo closure, 'the surge', health care 'reform'. He will bring out the successes of the 'gay rights' agenda accomplishment as his 'leadership', hoping thus to avoid anything close to a liberal challenger within the Democratic party then continue to help enact the conservative agenda. That should have been apparent to all of the world when Obama failed to end the Bush tax cuts - the very foundation of this self manufactured 'crisis', and in extending them also cut contribution rates to Social Security - setting the stage for another 'crisis' where he can again heroicly betray the New Deal.


I learned quite a while ago that the way you negotiate successfully with a "reasonable" adversary is to take an extreme position and wait for the adversary to meet you half way. Obama's opponents understand that principle.

With Obama as the "reasonable" adversary, it seems enough to wait for him to meet you all the way. Takes a little bit longer, but always seems to happen.

bill roche

I was camping in the Adirondacks last week so I missed my SST "fix". I opened SST a couple of days ago and was disappointed at the tone of the comments about the Tea Party advocates regarding their position about the debt ceiling. Derisive, even haughty critiques is about as kind as I can be about them. But the Tea Party point was clear. You don't get out of debt that is as big as your annual income by borrowing more. There were also some comments about fairness--also made by President Obama. With our "progressive" graduated income tax the wealthiest 25% already pay 85% of our tax bill. Fifty percent of households pay no tax and ten percent of them get income redistribution payments from the wealthiest called EITC. And some of you think we should tax the rich more?? They are not paying in enough? Perhaps we should liquidate their assets while we are at it? I think I am living in an Alice in Wonderland nation. Or maybe everyone in Washington is smoking something illegal. Of all people Putin recently characterized our economics as becoming "parasitic" to the world. Maybe he is on to something!
I have been a political nutcase since watching Eisenhower give his acceptance speech to the 1956 Republican Convention. I was hooked as a Republican. After Vietnam I became more of a Conservative. In the last fifteen years I have considered myself a Libertarian. Will I live long enough to see a Libertarian in the White House. No. But I believe their ideas are correct for a Republican form of democracy and the Teaparty today best represents their views.
In 1850 neither the Whigs nor the Democrats had solutions for the nation's problems. We needed a third party. Enter the Republicans and exit the Whigs. In 2011 we need a third party. The Democrats offer a road to Greece whoops I mean socialism. The Republicans offer...who knows? So I write to you all as a member of the Libertarian-Tea Party. And, like Senator Clay, I would rather feel right about my position then feel popular.
Best to you all, (the fishing was lousy)
Billy Roche



Your insight is worth the visit every day. You been there and have observed almost everything.

The best description I’ve read is that President Obama picks what corner he wants and paints himself into it.

I am baffled. I should be glad that the direct deposits continue. The Tea Party true believers are why we need separation of church and state. But, I am now convinced that Oligarchs and Corporate Interests own the Federal Government lock, stock and barrel. We, agnostic or true believer, are manipulated or ignored while the Corporatists do what they want to do anyway.

Your observation on dealing with a reasonable adversary is true. But, it is like the bully in 6th grade, the most reasonable geeky kid can blow up if taunted too hard. Americans cannot be treated like they have been for the last thirty years and keep coming back for more.

It looks like the rest of my life the USA will be in a depressed economy where the only winners are the wealthy and their handmaidens.

As long as the money keeps coming, I guess I am one of the handmaidens. But, I am too old and ugly for the money to keep being left behind forever


For him, being something is more important than doing something.

For as long as there is a country called the United States of America, or anyone who cares about her history, there will only be one person who was the first to attain the presidency who was not a white male.

That person was Barack Obama. It could have been Hillary Clinton, but events dictated otherwise.

I sometimes wonder if, at the end of the day, that that will be enough for this guy.

Medicine Man

Obama's apparent timidity is a particular embarrassment for me. In the run-up to the 2008 election, during the Democratic primary, a close friend and I debated who we felt would be the better nominee, with me as the pro-Obama partisan and he as the pro-Clinton. What a joke really, two Canadians having this kind of argument; voices in the wilderness.

I remember having high hopes that Obama would reverse the worst legal abuses of the Bush administration, something that I felt was less likely to be a priority for a Clinton presidency. As it turns out, I was hearing what I wanted to hear. This has turned out to be true of a great many things, in fact.

"being something is more important than doing something", the colonel says. Yeah, that sounds about right. Is Obama a narcissist? Who cares! What matters is that he's going to stick to his script. He is intent on *being* the calm, reasonable centrist with the track record of calm, reasonable centrism when the general public tunes in to politics prior to the 2012 election. This might work... but I think it is just as likely to backfire. As much as the American people dislike radicals, they scorn losers even more. The GOP will test Obama again in 2012 and if he retreats swiftly from his own professed beliefs, with the whole electorate watching, he is done. If he fails - again - to match his strategy with some testicular fortitude, he'll be done. If he mistakes his own academic, genteel inclinations for the nature of the country he's ostensibly the leader of, he will most certainly be done. And good riddance I suppose.

I owe my friend a mea culpa.

Burgette Mobley

I agree. He has a deep aversion to any risk, even risk that would rally the America people to back him and hold his back if he failed. He's a REMF. In every sense of the anagram.


Obama got very close to what he wanted. That is the fundamental truth Dems are gonna have to wrap their heads around. And draw their own conclusions from it. The game is up with Obama Col. The game is up with the national Dem Party. They are the new Whigs. They will, unless they and the GOP can keep the game fixed, go the way of the Whigs. Something new has to come along. It will take a decade or more...but it will come I believe. And the past weekend will be seen as a turning point. Obama got "Peace in Our Time" from this deal. Let him and the Dems live with it. As Chamberlain lived with it. For a while

Norbert M Salamon

Sorry off topic.

Interesting comment on Lybia:



Flawed in character or just another neoliberal oligarch who got the deal he basically wanted?

You make a persuasive case for character flaw.

Then again, it was Obama, not the teapartiers, who put social security, medicare, and medicaid on the table and who called for far more draconian cuts than Boehner.

Obama's just a mess on all fronts. Hope he loses and can't see whoever replaces him doing much worse.

Actually, I would like to see Elizabeth Warren primary his sorry rear end.


Well, since we're engaging in hypotheticals what would Obama then do on October 1 when no budget for the current fiscal year was in place? Would this national emergency also include the authority to tax and make appropriations?

I'm not a great fan of this 'deal' but I think your suggestion would have made the situation worse.


"being something is more important than doing something"

An apt description of our times.


Obama folded? He lost? Tell me which spending program he was forced to give up? I can't find one. I'm not asking for a vital program or a so-called entitlement, show me any program. The cuts don't come this year, the only year that there is a budget (or a CR, really). That means there are no cuts. He didn't get a tax increase, but that was put off to a commission to come back and rec something.

Stop listening to the pundits who are scoring the game on style and count the runs that actually cross the plate. 2T in "cuts" to a baseline which projects monotonic government growth greater than the CPI isn't a reduction in spending, even if they are enforced.

Yeah, Obama got creamed. He spends like a drunken sailor for 18 more months without any restraint, then says he tried budget cuts and they didn't work so time to raise taxes. When increased taxes doesn't make up the deficit he's gone, leaving the mess to someone else.


Bill Roche:

Govt should borrow when the economy is depressed and real interest rates are near zero, and use the borrowings to build infrastructure.

Govt should pay down debt in the good times - instead of giving tax cuts. (Cut taxes **AFTER** the debt is paid down).


The last Bush instead lowered taxes when there was a budget surplus (instead of paying down debt) and then refused to raise revenues when there was new expenditure - the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also refused to pay - either by cutting other spending or raising new revenues - for his Medicare prescription drugs program.

To complain now about the deficit when the government has to resuscitate a slumping economy, and revenues are further down because of the slump after not having said a word for the first decade of this century means one must be a Rip Van Winkle - or worse.

Brent Wiggans

It is possible that when Obama saw that he would not win a debt ceiling rise in a clean bill he got too clever by half. He knew that if he won a second term he would not be able to avoid taking on fiscal reform and by that time he would have little or no leverage over legislators in his own party to persuade them to do anything painful or that would risk damaging their personal political prospects. He saw an opportunity to give something up to Republicans to satisfy them while creating a mechanism that would enable him to compel Democrats to reform entitlements and give them the cover of having to honor an agreement (or obey a law) they had had no choice but to pass back in the summer of 2011. If this was what he had in mind, his eagerness to make the deal appears to have gotten the best of him and Republicans smelled it and turned him inside out. It may have been a sound political idea catastrophically botched in an amateurish job of negotiating by a guy who thought being a community organizer in Chicago had taught him all he needed to know about the art of making a deal. Or, then again, maybe it did and he got pretty much the deal he wanted all along.


Col. Lang:

"being something is more important than doing something"

With the greatest respect to Col. Lang, I think there is something much more important going on here.

You, and many others on both sides of the political fence have advanced a continuous string of explanations of Obamas behavior that all miss the essential point - because you underestimate this man.

Obama is not; "a good man surrounded by evil advisers" - which was the first excuse for his early Presidential actions that were totally at variance with the Liberal principles that got him elected.(eg: not prosecuting alleged torture incidents - "looking forward not backward")

He is not: "Playing centrist politics and the art of the compromise in order to advance his real Liberal agenda" - the second excuse invented after the first excuse exploded when he continued to surround himself with Conservative advisers and produced right leaning policy debacles for middle America: - health care reform, not pursuing financial regulation reform, the surge, etc..

And today he most certainly, absolutely, is not: "A weak and cowardly man without the courage to face his enemies". Obama does not give Two hoots about average Americans and their problems except so far as he needs to for re-election. To put it bluntly, he doesn't give a damn what happens to Middle America. That is why he signed off on the bill. Courage and strength of purpose are immaterial to him - he does not understand or have any use for those concepts.

To put it another way; if Congress presented him a Bill requiring the human sacrifice of all firstborn children, he would sign it. He does not care. He is not weak. There is no artifice or cunning plan. He is a simple straight forward, card carrying, empty un - empathetic narcissist. He will do literally anything that provides him the satisfaction he is addicted to.

So analyse your statement a little more:

"being something is more important than doing something"

"Being something" To who?

Not Obamas base - he hates and despises them.

President Obama is only concerned in "being something" to the world leaders, plutocrats and the power brokers that he aspires to mix with.

Of course he capitulates to their demands. Why wouldn't he?

I apologise to you and your readers for once again using the "N" (narcissist) word, but it explains so much, most especially his continued assault on ordinary Americans.

I picked this trait in an open thread last October.


Patrick Lang


How many times must i say that i agree with you on Obama's narcisssism? I have tried to be polite to hime as chief executive. pl

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