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18 April 2013

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r whitman

Lets remember that 54 senators, a majority, voted for the legislation. The NRA won on a legislative technicality, not on the votes. There will be a next time and a next time and a next time till something passes.

As far as Obamas legacy is concerned, it is already secure. National Health Insurance, Dodd-Frank Financial Legislation and probably immigration will look very good in the history books 20 years out as long as he keeps us out of any foreign wars for the next 3 years.

I do not particularly like him but he has been incredibly lucky with the dismal Republican opposition he has had.

different clue

Many people think his ACA was designed to prevent Canadian-style Single Payer from ever emerging or even a modest expansion of Medicare from ever being achieved. Many people think Dodd-Frank was a decoy replica of regulation designed to prevent real re-regulation, such as the restoration and hard application of Glass-Steagall, from being achieved. How much more than a velvet nerf-hammer will Dodd-Frank turn out to be?

I hope he is so caligulized so fast and thoroughly that he is unable to get his cuts to Social Security and Medicare (and military retirement as well?)passed and that he is unable to get TVA sold to private hustlers the way he surprised us in revealing he wants to do.

I hope part of his legacy is that he becomes far less rich after leaving office than he intended to become.

John Minnerath

The NRA won nothing. Special interest groups lobbied both sides as is always the case. The NRA and other gun owners groups helped by getting gun owners off their comfortable duffs to contact their respective legislators to make their opinions known.
The anti gun bills went down because the Senators were voting their constituents beliefs.

William R. Cumming

R Whitman and others! The stamp of lame duck status will be made by the rest of the world and possibly not even voters in 2014!

The only reason domestic legislative actions--successes or failures are important for any given President is whether his/her international leadership is important.

Foreign affairs for which this President was woefully unprepared are where the history books are written and not necessarily on WAR or PEACE.

Americans delude themselves if they think the issue or issues are domestic. The real issue for the World is how long the rest allow the USA to consume annually 25% of the earth's total resources.

turcopolier

John Minnerath et al

Yrs, the persistent obsession with the NRA is a big mistake on the part of the anti-gun crowd. These 46 senators voted their constituencies and are unafraid of the next election. The 54 on the other hand are a different matter. Some are from secure places like New York. Is there no real "upstate" in New York? Others are going to have the burden of this vote added to their troubles in 2014. Mark warner will be one such.

If BHO were really clever he would be talking to Grassley now. pl

no one

"Is there no real "upstate" in New York?"

Yes and no. For example, I live in one of many upstate towns that hosts one of the SUNY campuses. The educated people here are as leftist as any down in the city. Then there are cities like Rochester that are very proud of their activism on behalf on gays,minorities and other lefty pets.

There are conservatives and libertarians in the rural farming sectors, but a modern ivory tower liberal arts "gentrification" is the norm in the politically active set upstate.

jonst

"Caligula moment"? "Diatribe"? A bit of an exaggeration, I would say.

I think this President an incompetent fool (outside of getting elected, he is very good at that). I think he, and many liberals, formulated this 'gun check' campaign in the wrong way. Some of the problems with it were pointed by the Col. And there were other problems with it the Col did not touch on.

But all of these 'acoustics',i.e. photos with the victims' loved ones....stupid campaign slogans like 'Bobby's Law', or whatever first name is handy, the use of tragedy to suspend logic and reasoning, the twisting of poll numbers, have become the standard playing cards of a bi-partisan cynical, body politic. Where, in the past they once might have been conjured up in small, but steady doses, they are now all we ever get anymore.

But all that noted...show "disrespect" for this Senate? Impossible to show ENOUGH disrespect. For this Congress? They deserve nothing less than a warm bucket of spit (piss?) dumped over them (both sides). Never mind for this particularly sad episode. But they deserve it in general. For the last 15 years or so...starting with the impeachment brought by phonies and hypocrites, on trumped up charges, against a phony and a hypocrite.

Obama as a lame duck? 'They' are all lame ducks, our so called elite. They don't see it yet.

So now we move on to the next high profile farce, whatever that be. Or, maybe a low profile one...like the privatization of the TVA or such.

David

In my opinion Obama has always been a Trojan Horse. Nothing he has done could have been implemented by a Republican. The best that can be said of him is that he is a Moderate Republican of the Nelson Rockefeller ilk. Personally, I don't think the country was every in need of such an individual.

kao_hsien_chih

Small majorities are bad for stability. Even if pro gun control faction may have a small majority, both in the population and in the Senate, they are opposed by a quite large minority who are deeply suspicious of them. Forcibly imposing the former's agenda on the latter can only lead to a disaster. This has happened in virtually every civil war. This has happened in almost all polities that collapsed upon itself. This delusion that a small majority represent "the will of the people" that must always be obeyed is the same delusion that seems to convince many that loons like Chavez represent "true" democracy...

ked

I must agree with your assessment. He has been lucky on a few levels, dismal opposition being one of them. Sure, we could've done better, but given the quality of national political leadership these days, & the nature of our polity, we got far better than the likely alternative players.

Since we have a willfully lame Congress, maybe being a lame-duck ain't what it used to be.

walrus

I listened to Obamas speech and I was struck by how childish he sounded. The comments from the (left leaning) radio commentator were to the effect that he failed to see how any of the measures proposed would have had the slightest effect on the outcome of the school shooting.

As for gun control having any effect on crime, forget about it. We have tight gun controls in Australia, but if anything crimes involving the use of firearms have increased markedly. The only measurable effect is that domestic violence involving the use of a fireamr has declined, but not domestic violence per se.

r whitman

Great American legislative initiatives such as the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act, Lend Lease for WW2, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were all passed with small majorities. It took quite a time for each to be fully accepted as part of the American political landscape. It should also be noted that the original legislation in each case was very messy and required subsequent changes to get it right.

twv

"I suspect that President Obama may achieve lame duck status in record time"
Can't happen soon enough.
Time for the media annointed boy-king to retreat to the only place where he is marginally competent: the golf course.

twv

Sir:
There is no real "upstate" NY politically.
Pockets of rural counties (usually conservative) are outnumbered by upstate urban/suburban counties like Erie, Monroe, Albany, Onondaga, Broome, and more.

Edward Amame

I supported HRC in the primaries mainly because I thought all the post-partisan hoo-ha surrounding candidate Obama was BS. I thought Clinton's past experiences would give her a more realistic idea of the opposition she'd be facing.

Sure enough, the day Obama was inaugurated, GOP leaders in the House and Senate got together to try to figure out how to make him a one term president. The strategy they came up with was simple: say no to practically every piece of legislation he proposed. That strategy became so obvious that even the "both sides do it" Washington press corp took notice, dubbing the GOP during Obama's first term, "the Party of No." Apparently, it took Obama four years to get a handle on things. But he finally did and when he made his post-Newtown speech, he kept repeating that proposed gun legislation deserved "an up or down vote." Well, the Manchin-Toomey bill got 54 yes votes and 46 no votes. As r Whitman notes, that is a solid majority. But once again not enough to overcome yet another Obama-era GOP filibuster. That is why Obama was angry, that is what he meant by "politics."

Obama and the Dems aren't fools, they weren't looking for an excuse to push for expanded gun regulation. Gore avoided it in 2000 and Chuck Schumer declared it off limits when he ran the Dem Senate Campaign Committee in 2006. But Newtown happened and Obama pushed hard hard to respond, with Dems thinking they might have a shot at expanding background checks because that polls pretty well. (Calling expanding background checks as an "ambitious gun control agenda" strains credulity, but whatever). The problem is that only a relatively small segment of the population really feel that strongly about guns and background checks, so senators felt pretty secure supporting the filibuster. Dems would be smart to drop the gun issue again, unless the Brady/Bloomberg types can change that dynamic.

One other note. While Harper is technically correct that it was a bipartisan effort to maintain the filibuster, all four Democratic Senators who supported that effort represent states whose residents predominantly vote GOP. They were: Mark Begich (Alaska), Max Baucus (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Pryor (Ark.)

JohnH

If Harper is right about Obama having shot his wad, perhaps the upside is that he won't be able to gut Medicare, Social Security, civil service and military pensions, like he seemed so eager to do...

Of course, that presupposes that Democrats could muster 41 votes to do a filibuster of Obama's cuts. When was the last time that Senate Democrats managed to rally 80% of their own party behind programs that they claim to hold sacrosanct?

different clue

I feel the same way. Only I feel his economic policies are far "rightward" of the liberal Rockefeller Republicans. His relentless attacks on Social Security, his relentless preservation of the main body of the Bush Tax cuts against all opportunities to let them sunset naturally, his co-engineering of the "sequester" to extort us into giving in to cutting Retirement Survival Benefits, his surprise plan to sell the TVA(!); all look to me like he came in with a radical privatization agenda. It seems like he wants to be America's Yeltsin. How many Democrats can't see that through the "D" after his name? How many Democrats are secret Yeltsinizers themselves?

Fred

"Great American legislative initiatives .... the Sherman Antitrust Act, ... Social Security ... were all passed with small majorities."

You should get your facts straight. Social Security Act of 1935 passed 77-6 in the Senate and 372 - 33 in the House. That is a landslide, not a small majority. The Sherman Anti-trust act had an even greater majority.

http://www.ssa.gov/history/tally.html

scott s.

I suppose one might consider the southern tier as "upstate" but places like Monroe/Ontario county might be nominally Republican I don't know that that would be so much conservative, at least on things like firearms.

Mark Logan

With this congress, he's already lame-ducked. Nothing to lose. I suspect he was a few years in before he accepted the Machiavellian basics of politics. A text-book example of what's wrong with promoting people too quickly. I think he's a good man. Might have been a great one, but we will never know.

Just for kicks, Nixon spends a couple minutes describing those basics at the 5:20 mark here:

http://www.c-span.org/History/Events/Oral-Histories-Richard-Nixon-as-Dwight-D-Eisenhower39s-Vice-President/10737438224/


kao_hsien-chih

Obama's ACA is such a bureaucratic mess that several people whom I know study health care issues professionally (and are actually libertarian-leaning in their usual political leanings) have felt that a single payer would actually be better than that--and these are libertarian leaning policy analysts saying this! Obama pulled it through in no small part because the status quo is such a mess and the Republicans had no vision other than blind and willfully ignorant opposition. I tend to suspect that gun control legislation might be headed this way, too, though: gun rights people will need to be careful and thoughtful in proposing workable alternatives for areas where gun violence really is a problem, if anything to preempt a problematic "solution" being foisted on them later...

Tyler

That would require them to talk honestly about race and who commits the majority of gun crimes, and we can't have hatefacts out there.

Richard

This may be just be the tip of the iceberg for Obama. If Obamacare turns into the bureacratic nightmare it looks like, and it hits young people with low paying entry level jobs. They also promised of no increase in costs and no lowering of sevices.The democratic party is taking a gamble on a piece of legislation they didn't bother to read before they passed. They could be in serious trouble in the next election.
It will be interesting to watch the immigration debate. The lack of jobs cuts across color lines.If they misrepresent the opposition, like they did the gun issues,they could take another big hit.
More self righteous petulance ahead.


Fred

"Obama and the Dems aren't fools, they weren't looking for an excuse to push for expanded gun regulation. "

I disagree. Waving the 'bloody shirt' around for weeks while pushing a bill whose detailed requirements far exceed what is actually supported by the '90%' that Obama and company keep quoting - that is exactly the type of conduct one expects from politicians who want expanded gun regulations. Obama's disclaimer "this would not have prevented Newton" did nothing more than point out his hypocrisy on gun regulations.

Lee A. Arnold

We have been having massacres about once every two years, so the issue isn't going away. Stationing armed guards in every school in the country would cost the taxpayers somewhere around an extra $10 billion a year, for starters: just for guard salaries. Lame-duckiness is not an avoidable status for anyone, but Obama's emotionalism at the press conference is clearly politically calculated to keep the issue alive into the midterm elections, where the Dems could pick up House seats. Especially after another massacre. Obamacare, by the way, leads directly to a public option or even a single-payer in a few years' time (or more likely, a two-tier system with a baseline coverage for all, plus added private coverage on top, for your rhinestone-encrusted lifestyle). Why? Because ALL insurers will have to list their prices on the same page for the same coverage packages, and pure competition is something that capitalists don't like (see Adam Smith) because it will drive them down to one price, as a market should. Once there is a basic price for basic coverage, anyone with half-a-brain sitting at the dinner table is going to ask the following question: "Why are we still paying private insurers 20 cents out of every healthcare dollar to perform an accounting function, with NO VALUE ADDED?" Because that is what we are doing now, only most people just don't know it. (In fact we are getting NEGATIVE value-added, because the private insurers' business plan is to restrict your coverage, and pay as little as they can.)

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