Friday Open Thread

Did you see Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” on Wednesday evening? He did a segment calling the credit downgrade “Obama’s Downgrade”. A little snippet has Larry Wilmore stating that he believes that if Obama’s going to be labeled “black”, then he should own it, and by “own it,” he means “rent it.”

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I wish Obama had a little bit of Clinton in him. When Gingrich threatened Clinton with a governmental shutdown, Clinton responded with a big, fat BRING IT. Now, let’s think back…hmmm…who was the one that ended up looking like a dick? It sure wasn’t Bill.

Hey – President Obama? The right doesn’t want to work with you. In fact, they’re betting on you to fail and are doing everything in their power, including putting our country and the Ameican people at risk in order to see it happen.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my President. I just wish he was less bi-partisan, let’s-reach-across-the-aisle-and-just-get-along-kumbayah, kind of president.

Now, let me take you back – WAY BACK to  a different time in our American history…


President Bill Clinton: Good afternoon. Today, as of noon, almost half of the federal government employees are idle. The government is partially shutting down because Congress has failed to pass the straightforward legislation necessary to keep the government running without imposing sharp hikes in Medicare premiums and deep cuts in education and the environment.

It is particularly unfortunate that the Republican Congress has brought us to this juncture because, after all, we share a central goal — balancing the federal budget. We must lift the burden of debt that threatens the future of our children and grandchildren, and we must free-up money so that the private sector can invest, create jobs, and our economy can continue its healthy growth.

Since I took office, we have cut the federal deficit nearly in half. It is important that the people of the United States know that the United States now has proportionately the lowest government budget deficit of any large industrial nation. We have eliminated 200,000 positions from the federal bureaucracy since I took office. Our federal government is now the smallest percentage of the civilian work force it has been since 1933, before the New Deal. We have made enormous progress, and now we must finish the job.

Let me be clear — we must balance the budget. I proposed to Congress a balanced budget, but Congress refused to enact it. Congress has even refused to give me the line-item veto to help me achieve further deficit reduction. But we must balance this budget without resorting to their priorities, without their unwise cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, in education and the environment.

Five months ago I proposed my balanced budget plan. It balances the budget in the right way. It cuts hundreds of wasteful and outdated programs, but it upholds our fundamental values — to provide opportunity, to respect our obligations to our parents and our children, to strengthen families and to strengthen America — because it preserves Medicare and Medicaid, it invests in education and technology, it protects the environment, and it gives the tax cuts to working families for child rearing and for education. Unfortunately, Republican leaders in Washington have put ideology ahead of common sense and shared values in their pursuit of a budget plan.

We can balance the budget without doing what they seek to do. We can balance the budget without the deep cuts in education, without the deep cuts in the environment, without letting Medicare wither on the vine, without imposing tax increases on the hardest-pressed working families in America. I am fighting for a balanced budget that is good for America and consistent with our values. If they’ll give me the tools, I’ll balance the budget.

I vetoed the spending bill sent to me by Congress last night because America can never accept under pressure what it would not accept in free and open debate. I strongly believe their budget plan is bad for America. I believe it will undermine opportunity, make it harder for families to do the work that they have to do, weaken our obligations to our parents and our children, and make our country more divided. So I will continue to fight for the right kind of balanced budget.

Remember, the Republicans are following a very explicit strategy announced last April by Speaker Gingrich, to use the threat of a government shutdown to force America to accept their cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, to accept their cuts in education and technology and the environment.

Yesterday they sent me legislation that said — we will only keep the government going, and we will only let it pay its debts if and only if we accept their cuts in Medicare, their cuts in education, their cuts in the environment, and their repeal of 25 years of bipartisan commitments to protect the environment and public health.

On behalf of the American people, I said no. If America has to close down access to education, to a clean environment, to affordable health care, to keep our government open, then the price is too high.

My message to Congress is simple — you say you want to balance the budget, so let’s say yes to balancing the budget, but let us together say no to these deep and unwise cuts in education, technology, the environment, Medicare and Medicaid. Let’s say no to raising taxes on the hardest- pressed working families in America. These things are not necessary to balancing the budget. Yes to balancing the budget, no to the cuts.

I know the loss of government service will cause disruption in the lives of millions of Americans. We will do our very best to minimize this hardship. But there is, after all, a simple solution to the problem. All Congress has to do is to pass a straightforward bill to let government perform its duties and pay its debts. Then we can get back to work and resolve our differences over the budget in an open, honest, and straightforward manner.

Before I conclude, I’d like to say a word to the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who will be affected by this partial shutdown.

I know, as your fellow citizens know, that the people who are affected by this shutdown are public servants. They’re the people who process our Social Security applications, help our veterans apply for benefits, care for the national parks that are our natural heritage. They conduct the medical research that saves people’s lives. They are important to America, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I will do everything I can to see that they receive back pay and that their families do not suffer because of this.

But it is my solemn responsibility to stand against a budget plan that is bad for America and to stand up for a balanced budget that is good for America. And that is exactly what I intend to do.

Thank you very much.

I miss Bill…after all, he was our nation’s first black president.


58 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. Wait!

    I’m having a psychic moment!  Any minute now Katie’s going to say something about how none of this would be happening if we’d elected Hillary.

    Katie, am I right?

  2. playing stylist and photographer today!

    i’m doing a photo shoot for my friend’s 4 beautiful little girls, ages newborn to 6!  i gave them all matching dresses when the baby was born, and today i’m going over to do the older ones’ hair and then we’re going to a lovely mansion for a photo shoot!  i can’t wait, but i’m nervous that it’s going to come together!

    • You’ll do an awesome job

      I LOVE your photos – you have a great eye and ability to capture lovely moments.  And the lighting, etc. is always wonderful.  I am sure you will do a fantastic job and everyone will have fun too :)  

        • I wish you could do mine!

          I want to find a freelancer to do a combo of some family pics, Lucy’s 5 yo pics, and some maternity pics (with clothes on!). I’m not a big fan of studio portraits, I’d like to have someone meet us in a park or something. I put out some feelers on fb and have a few leads, but some of them are sooooooo expensive (for the prints afterwards, especially).

  3. darn, not meeting swiss clogs after all

    they (rightfully so!) thought a trip up mount washington might be in order so they won’t be making it down to see me on their way to Vermont –I’m bummed but TOTALLY understand – the top of Mt. Washington is pretty freaking cool!

  4. I love Larry Wilmore.

    He is awesome.

    So, my Minnesotan friends, I watched the Repub debate last night and saw Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Bachmann attempt to rip each other apart. My question for you is, is T-Paw really the ultra social conservative that he’s claiming to be, or is he lying because he figures that’s what he has to do to win the primary? When he stands up there going on about “life” and all that, it comes across to me as phony so I’m curious whether he was like that as governor or not. Michelle is of course quite believable in that role so I don’t doubt she’s walking her talk, so to speak. Tim seems different.

    • My feeling

      is that he’s sincere but he isn’t used to being so upfront in talking about it. I disagree heartily with all of Pawlenty’s policies. He did us dirty in Minn. and he was the biggest whiner ever. Everything was always the (Democratic) legislature’s fault; his hands were always tied because they wouldn’t work with him, boo-hoo. On second thought, Jesse Ventura was a bigger whiner. But having a Democratic legislature kept T-Paw in line a bit, even if it couldn’t stop him from putting us in a deficit.

      But anyway, T-Paw isn’t evangelical crazy like Bachmann. I don’t think it’s so much that he doesn’t believe it as he’s never had to really talk about it & push it as an agenda like he’s having to do on the national stage. I think he’s out of his element. It’s sort of sad because as much as I dislike him, I think he’s the kind of candidate the conservatives should be backing. Instead, they’re going to go for the insanity that is Perry, Bachmann, Palin, etc.

      Minnmom probably has a better take on this, but that’s my view.

    • I guess it’s easy

      to be banging on about pro-life when there’s no chance of getting pregnant in your marriage (looking at you, Michelle).

  5. I have to say there are BIG difference between

    Bill and Obama though, Bill is white, identifiably Southern (and therefore American), and dealing with budget surpluses. Obama is dealing with massive budget deficits and has the weight of ALL of the US unexplored racism on his back. Also Fox News and the internet exist now in a way they did not during the Clinton administration. You could see the difference in those factors from his first term to 2nd term as president too.

    • Yes …

      and even the hard-right Gingrich’s congress and certainly Dole’s senate were less out-there than the Tea Party faction are today. They have completely lost touch with reality if they think the debt ceiling shouldn’t be raised as a matter of course.

      I read a short piece in the New Yorker about the debt ceiling, by the way, and it evidently is a left-over remnant from the early 1900s when the president had more spending power and it was the only way Congress could reign him in. Nowadays it’s an artefact that should be repealed.

    • let’s not forget

      Clinton was way farther to the left than Obama. Obama is just left of center, always has been. He accomplished many human-based / progressive things in his career, but to expect him to perform as a liberal is asking too much.
      You’d think the righties would loooove him though, as he doesn’t cheat on his wife.   sarcasm, bc other people’s sex lives don’t affect me

      • So true!

        I always have to laugh a bit at anyone who thought Obama was the “radical lefty” that the GOP tried to paint him out to be. Did they not read his books? He is exactly what I expected him to be.

        And to the point about the media – so huge! The GOP has a megaphone – it’s called AM radio and Fox News. They are always guaranteed to get their talking points spread far and wide no matter how absurd. Sure, they don’t have the “cheating husband” line to use against Obama, but they have sure as hell thought of everything else and lord knows you have got to be completely naive not to see the often not even veiled racism in their attacks.

            • nope I call foul

              my comment is my opinion…. this wasn’t a “hilary would have been better’ it’s more a “he is exactly the kind of not so much a liberal liberal I knew he would be…”  

              so there pbbttttthhh

              • LOL!!

                Well see…I am glad I got you to clarify :-)

                I am also glad I wasn’t married particularly to either candidate in the primaries. They both appealed to me and still do. And I can see where both would have had failures against this ridiculous generation of the GOP and the even more hyper-partisan media megaphones at their disposal.

                I am not surprised when Obama disappoints me. I would not have been surprised when Hillary would have in different ways either.

                Mostly I hate our system right now. And our media. Oh how I loathe our media.

                • agreed

                  He’s what I expected as well.  What has exceeded my expectations has been the behavior of the right – never in my wildest imagination could I have foreseen anything like this level of bald faced, shameless, outright insanity.  Thank god Obama is (as far as we know so far) perfectly squeaky clean – I think is the only reason the personal attacks have failed to stick is that they have not a hint of reality behind them.  Had we elected HRC I suspect they would have found something to stick to her – or Bill, it wouldn’t matter – that no matter how irrational or how minor, the scandalmongers could have used to incapacitate her.  
                  But the media.  Oh god, the media.  I feel hopeless.

            • Yeah, I did too

              (support Edwards) b/c he was (to me) the most liberal / people based. sigh.
              I’m okay with Obama, and would’ve been okay with HRC. Either would’ve been hated for being a Democrat.

            • me too

              i picked him at yearly kos in chicago– everyone got to see all the candidates on stage together, and then you got to choose which one to go see speak separately.  i also gave to his campaign, and i had even less money back then.    

  6. not a good fit

    I wrote this already on here relatively recently so feel free to skip it : ) but Obama’s biggest problem to me right now is that he doesn’t seem to like being President, particularly the tough parts, which is, well, the whole job.

    I honestly think that it is just a bad fit between job and personality.

    (Bill) Clinton obviously loved it. GWB, well, we don’t even need to go there. Obama does not like it.

    I do think Hillary would have been a better president. JMO.

    • Bill Clinton loves politics

      Loves it. All the arguments, strategy, details, etc.

      I don’t get the feeling that either Obama or Hillary have the same kind of love for that stuff, so I think you are right that the fit is not the same for Obama that it was for Bill.

      I don’t mind Hillary but I can’t stand all their hangers on like Terry McAuliffe, Dick Morris (I know he’s gone now but he’s a particularly egregious example), Mark Penn, etc. My main issue with her was not so much her as fatigue with the rest of the crowd.

      • Yeah

        I don’t know if Hillary would have been better or not, we can’t know that. I supported her, so obviously I think that.

        I just want Obama to get in the game a little more. He comes across as so aloof. I don’t think it means that he actually doesn’t care or isn’t passionate or isn’t working his butt off.

        He reminds me of our old governor here in NJ, Corzine. Total wonk, big brain, but just didn’t seem to like the job much either. OTOH, Christie, whether you like his politics or not, seems to love it.

        I’m a bit sensitive to this because even though my old jobs were, oh, 1 million times less important than being president, that was often a critique I would receive on reviews from multiple bosses, that I came across as too cool and aloof. Which always surprised me because I sure didn’t feel that way inside.

        • but is that reality?

          Seriously, do we know whether Obama is aloof?  I just can’t tell anymore how to interpret what we are seeing; the media force field is so strong it’s nearly impenetrable.  Maybe he’s strong arming, manipulating, bullying, playing chess games with Congress, or maybe he’s less engaged than GWB.  Nobody’s ever denied that he’s a pretty passionate guy, but that doesn’t come across these days.  Has he lost the spark, is he playing his cards close to the chest, or is our attention diverted elsewhere?  The media doesn’t find him all that interesting, personally, so his speeches get less coverage than crazy Bachmann.  

          • Well

            It kind of doesn’t matter. Politics is all about perception. If he is being perceived as aloof, that’s not good.

            I just think it’s a simple case of poor fit for the job. Not that he isn’t capable of doing it, he is, but that he doesn’t enjoy it.

          • His nickname

            of No Drama Obama has been around for at least 3 years now. I do think the image of the fiery partisan isn’t really his style. That doesn’t mean he isn’t behind the scenes trying to get stuff done. But as I’ve been observing over the past several years on the state level (fairly close up view from DH who has worked in or around the Capitol since 1999) the people they have to work with have gone completely overboard. Even Schwarzenegger couldn’t get them to compromise on anything and he is a Republican. The only hope is either redistricting or voting them into a permanent minority.

                • except

                  The numbers suggest they’re still voting R, not swing.  But at least they have enough awareness to be too embarrassed to have an R on their registration for – maybe that’s a start.  

              • I think a lot of the

                really crazy people didn’t use to turn out at such a high rate. The other people still exist, but they are a decreasing proportion of Republican voters.

    • That’s a really excellent point

      I have never thought of that way, but I do see your point. Bill totally thrived on it for sure, for better or worse.

      • Bush

        didn’t like the job either. And wasn’t intellectually capable for it, which was a deadly combination. He liked sports and exercise. Which is great, just not the leading traits you want in a prez.

    • Love this insight

      And to build on it, I think he was naive. I think he presumed that the other side was full of people of good will who wanted to roll up their sleeves and work together for the good of the country and he thought he was capable of motivating them to do so. He (hell, we all) underestimated the vitriolic crazysauce we’d be seeing that started with health care and has just kept on coming.

      Would Vitriolic Crazysauce make a good band name?

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