What if Obama gave FDR’s ‘I welcome their hatred’ speech?

What if Obama gave FDR's 'I welcome their hatred' speech?
MinnPost photo illustration by Corey Anderson

Eventually, I get around to asking University of Minnesota political scientist Kathryn Pearson the question in the headline, and she explains the underlying dynamics of the Washington stalemate, but first…

Franklin D. Roosevelt did not fix the economy with the New Deal programs he signed into law in his first term. As he prepared in the fall of 1936 to face the voters he promised to double down on the kind of economic interventionism he had already tried, in a spirit of constant experimentation until he found something that would resuscitate the economy more than the first round of stimulus had.

It’s a fairly famous speech, the emotional heart of which is in the passage referring to his rich and powerful opponents:

 “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

“They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

“Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

In a big hard-hitting New York Times piece, political psychologist Drew Westin channeled the frustration of many liberals with what they see as the too-timid, polite, retreating President Obama who is too unwilling to what FDR did.

Westen cited the famous “I welcome their hatred” passage as an example of the kind of speech Obama needs to give, to call out the plutocrats and to double down on “change” as FDR did. I linked to it when it appeared, and also to a smart Jonathan Chait rebuttal, which argued that Westin overrated the power of a presidential address.

A couple of days later, a friend sent me this table of the partisan breakdown of Congress going back to the 1850s. If you look it over you’ll see that the current status of Washington — closely divided government — is not the historical norm. There have been long periods when both the Repubs and the Dems held total control of all branches and even of the Senate by filibuster-proof margins. (In fact, Obama experienced something like that during the first two years of his current term.)

My friend Doug Tice of the Strib built a whole column around the point.

Now back to FDR
The 1930s was one of those periods of one-party domination. The electorate held the economy against the Repubs for a long time, even though the New Deal did not really break the back of  the Depression.

President Franklin Roosevelt
Photo by Elias Goldensky
President Franklin Roosevelt

Heading into the 1936 elections, FDR’s Dems held a  69-25 advantage in the Senate and a 322-103 advantage in the House. When he gave his “welcome their hatred” speech, Roosevelt was just weeks away from the biggest electoral college victory since the creation of U.S. party politics, 523-8 over Repub Alf Landon. In fact, the Dems added to their already colossal majorities in both houses of Congress and FDR was able to push through a second round of major legislation that became known as the Second New Deal.

It would be silly to think that FDR’s speech was the reason he was able to win that victory or pass those bills. Rather, he was able to give that speech because he had little to fear politically from the financiers or the profiteers he vilified, nor legislatively from the Repubs in Congress. He wasn’t courting swing voters in key states (he carried 46 or the then-48) nor did he need any moderate Republicans to help him pass his second-term program.

Today, the righties and the rich and the Repubs appear to hold the loyalties of at least a blocking portion of the electorate and the Congress. Would an angry speech denouncing the rich help Obama get reelected, help wrest control of the House back for his party and help enough Dems regain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate? That would be some speech.

At long last Pearson
Kathryn Pearson is the U of M’s leading Congress expert. I placed all of these facts and arguments on the table and asked her what would happen if Obama gave the 2011 version of FDR’s speech.

She said she understands the frustration of liberals with Obama’s unwillingness to use the bully pulpit more forcefully. And she sympathizes with disappointed liberals who say they can’t figure out what Obama cares about enough to stand and fight for it.

Kathryn Pearson
Kathryn Pearson

But, she added, “a lot of people in the media and on the left seem to think the bully pulpit is much more powerful than it really is. It would make them feel better to hear that speech but they aren’t thinking about the whole population. A lot of people are not listening when the president speaks and a lot more interpret what he says through an existing partisan lens,” which makes it very hard to persuade of anything that they don’t already believe.

Even with a great speech that excited his base and raised his approval rating, she said, “the challenge he faces now is much more in the makeup of the Congress” than in the mood of the electorate.

Obama obviously faces a much less hospitable Congress than FDR ever faced and the new unprecedented norms of congressional partisan politics make them even more daunting. The unusual shape of the U.S. system creates more chokepoints for legislation than most other democratic structures around the world.

The new norms
As for those new norms, Pearson said, “the Republican House majority not only disagrees with Obama on almost everything but they are dead set against doing anything that could possibly make the president look good.”

There’s a huge freshman class in the House and most of them lack what Congress scholars call “institutional loyalty,” meaning a relatively non-partisan loyalty to the institution of Congress itself. Their loyalty is “all about their Tea Party goals and their extreme anti-Obama sentiment.” Add to that a historically unusual belief that compromise equals defeat.

From that recipe, Pearson said, the idea that Obama could get 218 votes in the House plus 60 in the Senate to end a filibuster from reasonable members of Congress for anything that Obama favors and that might give Obama an accomplishment on which to run for reelection seems far-fetched.

The parties have become ideologically coherent each within themselves, further apart ideologically across the party divide, more electorally competitive and willing to politicize every vote and less willing to compromise than ever in congressional history, Pearson said. The Republicans have learned that they can control the agenda by blocking everything Obama favors and “they would rather get nothing done than give up that agenda control,” she said.

By continuing to seek some way forward and present himself as the adult in the room, he is not copying FDR in 1936, Pearson said, “but if his biggest consideration is appealing to the median voter in swing states, he’s probably following the right strategy.”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (33)

  1. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/26/2011 - 08:47 am.

    Such a speech may not — make the will not — influence Congress’s right wing enough to make its members vote for the president’s programs or wishes. No matter what he does, these people cannot be influenced by anyone except their own leaders and media.

    But it definitely would help win back the large number of those of us on the left who want to hear him loudly speak the truth about what he and other Democrats face in the current Congress. He has seemed often to be negotiating away important-to-all-Americans programs like the public option that should have been part of the health care reform bill. Zero Republicans were inspired to vote for the bill, which might have been foreseen.

    It could well be that it would also increase support for him among those independents and moderate (Eisenhower) Republicans who now say they see “no difference” between the two parties.

  2. Submitted by Kim Millman on 08/26/2011 - 08:55 am.

    “a lot of people in the media and on the left seem to think the bully pulpit is much more powerful than it really is.”

    Poppycock! The “new norms” have been created by 30 years of cowardly and corportists Democrats who feed from same Republicans Wall Street troughs while playcating their base. And the base are suckers enough to keep listening to the cowardly Wall Street Democrats in hopes that if they never publically criticise them they will get re-elected and someday, when all the stars are aligned, do the right thing.

    Well all the stars were aligned in 09 and and Democrats did nothing. They refused to put forth a vision, they refused to fight for the people, they refused to be creative with economic solutions, they refused to do anything Wall Street didn’t want them to do.

    While the Democrats are busy crouching behind the Wall Street curtain, trying to convince the rank and file that Wall Street is Main Street, the Republicans are all standing in line as a practiced choir singing the same song. The more Republicans sing, the more the Democrats crouch, and the more the Republicans sing with Democrats on their knees without a unified vision, without a song of their own, the more the media covers what the Republicans are singing and the more the public listens to the Republicans singing in unison.

    To be a leader you have to lead! To be a leader you have to be passionate, take risks, and ask others to follow you. You don’t give press conferences and asks others to lead Congress. You create a vision and you keep hammering on that vision. You persuade others to adopt that vision. Before you know it the media is covering the vision and the public is listening and beginning to follow.

    This is not a chicken and egg dilema. It is pretty simple. When a majority fails to lead they become the minority because somebody will always fill the leadership vacuum as is perpetually created by Democrats. When a political party refuses decade after decade to represent the people or principles upon which the party has stood for, people start choosing the least objectionable representative. How the heck do you think we evolved into such a closely divided country with never ending closely divided elections? Come on you guys, you’re supposed to be the highly educated thinking people! Think people! Think!

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/26/2011 - 09:05 am.

    In other words, if those of us who are NOT fabulously wealthy want the government to represent our interests, we have to work hard (and contribute financial resources if we can) to be sure that CONGRESS (and our Minnesota legislature, for that matter) is NOT filled with people who are far more interested in keeping Grover Norquist, the “club for growth (of rich people’s fortunes) et al, happy while ignoring the needs of their own increasingly-impoverished constituents.

    Hopefully we don’t have to reach the point where the vast majority of Americans are living in abject poverty before we come to realize that our system is currently structured in such a way that responsible, well-educated, hard working married people with families can far-too-easily be left impoverished, even while working multiple jobs,…

    and that this restructuring has been accomplished because we’ve been voting for representatives who believed not in government of, by and for the people, but in government of, by and for the fabulously wealthy.

  4. Submitted by Rebecca Hoover on 08/26/2011 - 11:13 am.

    Unfortunately — Obama has lost way too much credibility. He could give the all time greatest speech and many would not believe him. When he sold out on the public option and failed to push for the real health care reform he promised, he lost much of his base. Obama is now viewed as dishonest. When he ignored the economic problem and joblessness until the election was around the corner, he lost another major chunk of support. Obama has a failed presidency thanks to his own lack of backbone and integrity.

  5. Submitted by Gail O'Hare on 08/26/2011 - 11:26 am.

    One message Obama could try would be unarguable: Buy American. When we all have the guts to demand American products made with American textiles and raw materials unless there is no American source, then corporations from Walmart to the faceless conglomerates will have to change their strategy. Free trade and playing the global economy have fattened the purses of the fabulously wealthy and destroyed our economic security.

    It’s not all about marketing. Passion and vision are all very well, but the bully pulpit is useless unless you have a specific plan. Right now all parties are guilty of blowing hot air.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/26/2011 - 11:53 am.

    “The Republicans have learned that they can control the agenda by blocking everything Obama favors and “they would rather get nothing done than give up that agenda control,” [Pearson] said.

    Nonsense. Everythng Obama has proposed is antithetical to growing the economy, which is how we’re going to get out of this mess.

    If Obama proposed repealing Obamacare, cutting the federal budget to 2008 levels, cutting the corporate tax rate to zero, cutting the capital gains tax to zero, and/or agreeing to a national sales tax in place of the income tax, I guarantee you all the republicans would vote in favor and all the votes in opposition would be democrat. So then who would be the obstructionist party?

  7. Submitted by Ray Aune on 08/26/2011 - 11:54 am.

    I’ll admit to enjoying the thought of seeing some more FDR-esque behavior from the White House instead of this Lincoln-esque ‘sacrifice everything to keep the Union together’ behavior.

  8. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 08/26/2011 - 12:21 pm.

    Obama and the Dems have absolutely hammered the ‘blame Republicans’ arguments out there and it hasn’t really helped them. Why? Two reasons. The first and most important is that the Dem solutions haven’t worked. Unemployment is higher than we were told it would be. The housing market is still a mess and they keep looking to reinflate the bubble. Obamacare, the signature achievement, remains very unpopular and hardly anyone thinks it will fix the problems in the health care sector. Without actually *improving* these areas Obama will deservedly have trouble being reelected.
    The second problem is smaller but still important. If Obama wants to run against Wall St then he’ll need to come up with a good answer as to why he has a) accepted so much of their money in contributions and b) why he’s been so gentle on them. I’m not sure how he threads that needle.

  9. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 08/26/2011 - 12:31 pm.

    I agree with all of the above comments which are excellent. I’ll only add that I’m one of those who question if Obama is really the person he represented himself to be when he ran for President in 2008. My brother calls Obama the “best Republican President” we ever had. I’m having a hard time distinguishing the Democratic Party from the Republican Party, other than on “social or cultural” type issues. Obama especially seems more concerned about the wealthy elite bankers than the average person. This is completely at odds with what I always understood the Democratic party of Roosevelt and the New Deal to have been about.

    On the other hand, when the likes of Michele Bachmann assert “make Obama a one term president” after he’s been in office less than four months, then oppose and obstruct everything he proposes, even in its watered down form, I’m inclined to be sympathetic to his predicament. The toxic fumes from the tea party seem to have created a vacuum of ideas and initiative for leadership in our country.

  10. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/26/2011 - 12:37 pm.

    The key point here is the myriad points where legislative action can be “blocked.” There are many more now than before (see the great book, “Winner Take All Politics). BTW – Rick Perlstein would take exception to the professor’s opinion.

  11. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/26/2011 - 01:00 pm.

    This is a fine piece, Eric. I like the attempt, at least, to draw historical parallels to another president vilified by the right.

    While I’m tempted to give vent to my own frustrations with Obama, which are many, it seems worthwhile to step back a bit and look at the bigger picture, especially in the political realm. Obama may have doomed his presidency to a single term because of his willingness – some would say over-willingness – to seek some sort of compromise or consensus solution to a number of difficult national problems – mostly not of his making. In the process, he may well have lost the support of the independent, non-party-member voters who likely put him into office.

    “Losing support,” however, doesn’t automatically translate into a vote for the other guy, whoever that other guy happens to be. I’m plenty disappointed with the Obama presidency, in both foreign and domestic policy, but I can’t go very far down that frustration road without being brought up short by what I see of the opposition. Do the people who supported Obama in ’08 really – really – want to see ANY of the parade of narcissists currently making up the Republican field occupying the Oval Office at the next opportunity?

    I’m disappointed by Obama, but I’m appalled by Perry, Romney, Bachmann, Paul and the others. A secessionist demagogue as president? A corporate apologist? A fundamentalist Know-Nothing? A principled and delusional nut-case? Any of the current Republican front-runners is a recipe for national catastrophe if elected president, especially if Congress remains in the grip of the crazies on the increasingly neofascist right wing. So, while I’m not at all enthused about another four years of Obama’s willingness to give in to lunatic Tea Party demands, I’m much, much less enthused by the prospect of a national leader who really thinks corporations are people, or that we all have to follow the Bible, or who doesn’t know the Civil War from the Revolution – all of them claiming to be “Constitutional conservatives” when, in fact, none of them seem to have anything more than a passing acquaintance with the founding document.

    If the choice is Obama or an idiot, I vote for Obama every time.

  12. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/26/2011 - 01:21 pm.

    To quote Sorkin, “The American people like guts, and the Republicans have got ’em.”. And to quote Sorkin once again, “Politics is perception.” If the president appears weak, he is weak. And weakness perceived or otherwise, is a disastrous quality for a president. Say what you will about President Bush, and I have said plenty of really rotten things about him over the years, his image was one of decisiveness and strength. And it seems that for the American people, that was pretty close to being enough.

    I think it would be a mistake for the president to FDR’s 1936 speech. But like Roosevelt, this president is hated by a significant, and interestingly enough, rather unpopular segment of the population. In particular, he is hated by a significant portion number of Wall Street bankers, whose bacon he saved, and who in a different administration, might very well be fending off criminal investigations. Maybe this is something President Obama should find a way to discuss with the American people.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/26/2011 - 01:27 pm.

    The 2008 election was a referendum on the failed presidency of George Bush. Republicans lost the election to a far greater extent than Democrats won it. Tables will be turned in 2012. It will be President Obama who has the record to defend. He can do it passively. letting the Republicans choose the grounds of the debate, or he can be aggressive, and fight to set the terms of the debate himself. I think he needs to do the latter.

  14. Submitted by will lynott on 08/26/2011 - 02:24 pm.

    I don’t think the FDR speech is one that Obama can make….or, at least, back up. He has demonstrated this to me numerous times, the cave-in on the debt ceiling after weeks of tough sounding rhetoric like “Don’t call my bluff!” being only the most recent.

    Like Mark Dayton in Minnesota, Obama has spent much of the last few months negotiating with himself. Like Dayton, he’s made concession after concession (in the President’s case, single payer, the public option, keeping Gitmo open, doubling down on Afghanistan) without a hint of in-kind from the Rs. Why should they compromise? Both of these guys reward R intransigence by caving again and again for nothing in return.

    The primary reason in Obama’s case is that he’s never been a fiery progressive leader; he is and always has been a centrist compromiser. Dayton is a liberal compromiser, but still basically a compromiser, who was not prepared for a bunch of zealots who care nothing for the state, its residents, the legislature, or the concept of good governance–only for their wingnut beliefs-sorry, principles.

    Obama could conceivably give the speech, but not only would people no longer trust him to follow through, he himself would be incapable of doing so, and he knows it.

    Used to be leaders like this used to be just fine for governing the country. Now, however, faced with nihilists whose motivations do not track with the wishes of the people, but only with their own misbegotten concept of power first and above all, they are not up to the job–not unless they change their stripes PDQ. Another FDR is needed–and these guys are not FDR.

    Ever hear what Stephen Douglas did when he lost the presidency to Abraham Lincoln? He decided to speaking-tour the South, where he was from, and do his best to promote Lincoln’s policies on the evils of secession and slavery. I kid you not.

    That kind of country-first ego-later thinking would be unthinkable today. We have no more statesmen–we have corporate mendicants. Meditate on it.

  15. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/26/2011 - 02:54 pm.

    By all means, tell us, Mr. Tester, how our lives would be better if we revert to 45 million people without health care of any kind, the federal budget reverts to the size of George Bush’s final one, corporations operate tax-free, investors pay nothing on their profits, and a national sales tax replaces the income tax.

  16. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 08/26/2011 - 04:30 pm.

    Ray – At last check the 45m people without healthcare still have no healthcare so by all means keep keep the straw-man alive. As for your idiot comment, I think the idiot is any voter that wants to double down on hope and change. Do you really see anything and I mean anything that would indicate to you that Obama is capable of meeting a campaign promise. Shut down Gitmo, end Bush tax cuts, end two wars, cut the deficit in half but the end of term, all a big steaming pile of fail. No job growth, a failed stimulus, and a soon to be double dip recession, yet he can rest his hat on a healthcare bill that hasn’t started and might be constitutional, congrats!

  17. Submitted by Marcia Brekke on 08/26/2011 - 05:18 pm.

    #14, In saying “our lives,” you mean, of course, the lives of the middle to lower income folks. Those in that group will be far poorer, but then we/they are not the people who have vast wealth to donate to the party of our choice: the Democratic party, needless to say! The “You-Know-Who’s” know that THEIR lives will be better, as we could plainly see at the end of the eight years of Bush’s “Steal from the poor and give to the rich” program.

  18. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 08/26/2011 - 08:17 pm.

    Did I say all the foregoing comments were excellent? My comment must have some in after Mr. Tester’s, which I don’t agree with to put it mildly. Mr. Tester’s comment reminds me of some wingnut talking point I read somewhere in the last few days about President Obama’s actions which worsened the economy. I think there’s a difference between making a good situation worse and failing to make bad situation better. With the President we are looking at at least 8 years of failed Republican policies which make the economy demonstrably worse than when they began. Obama might be ineffectual but he’s not to blame for the “Depression lite” which this country fell into at the end of Bush II. I won’t even go into the “laffable” policies called Reagonomics.

  19. Submitted by Tim Larson on 08/26/2011 - 09:46 pm.

    #11 Ray // “because of his willingness – some would say over-willingness – to seek some sort of compromise or consensus solution to a number of difficult national problems”

    There was no compromise on the stimulus bill, and any compromise on health care was done to get enough Democrats in line (whatever happened to the “blue dogs anyway). Remember, Republicans could stop nothing from ’09 to ’11. One is an utter failure, the other is deeply unpopular. Which is why the “lunatic Tea Party” started in the first place.

    I’d suggest you start getting used to them. They’re going to be around for a while.

  20. Submitted by Joe Musich on 08/26/2011 - 10:25 pm.

    As to the question I would love it if Obama gave the FDR speech. It’s time to draw the difference.

  21. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/26/2011 - 11:03 pm.

    @ Joe

    American business will dump health care even if it’s just a break even proposition for them. Providing health care is a tremendous distraction for business. It gets employers involved in aspects of the employees’ lives where they don’t belong and aren’t comfortable. Much as you don’t want your employer making life or death decisions about coverage for one of your family members, your employer really doesn’t want to be in that position either. I fully expect to see a trickle of businesses, starting with small ones, dropping their employees onto the exchanges, which will grow to an avalanche. Health care insurance from your employer will become rare.

    Which makes the structure of the health care bill so poor. By charging a penalty per employee, the health care bill creates an incentive to minimize the number of employees, work them as many hours a week as you possibly can, burn them out, then fire them and hire someone new. In other words, just like the current system. If you feel the need to tax compensation, then make it a fixed percentage. Better yet, put in a national value added tax to pay for health care and tax consumption.

    The Republicans are very unlikely to repeal the health reform law. But they could improve it by paring back the minimum plan to a high deductible, high co-pay plan with a maximum on the co-pay.

    In general, businesses would be better off if they got out of the benefits business and paid only in cash. All forms of compensation should be taxed with no exemptions.

  22. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/27/2011 - 07:51 am.

    If the goal were to play to the base, then yes. The problem for progressives is that not very many Americans are progressive. The country has moved center-right. Those folks in the middle will determine whether the president deserves a second term. Not the fringe base.

  23. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/27/2011 - 08:43 am.

    Obama can’t give the FDR speech, at least with a straight face, because he’s in bed with them.

    When he hired (or retained) Hank Paulsen, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, et al, we knew then where he stood with Wall St. vis-a-vis Main St. and everybody knows it, especially democrats.

  24. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/27/2011 - 08:53 am.

    And Ms. Pearson last won an election… when?

    It’s not just Obama, the Democrats in general have completely failed to frame the issue with a clear and forceful counter narrative. The reason for this is the simple fact that in a large part the Democrats actually signed off on the Republican agenda back in the late 80’s. The “New Democrats” i.e. Clinton et al embraced moderate Republicanism and left the party with no clear oppositional framework other than “me too”.

    Obama as a leader has to step up and provide that narrative, he has to fight.
    as for Pearson’s warning; the problem with political scientists and historians is that they can only tell what happened, or what people opinions were the last time people were surveyed. They can’t tell if or why people changed their minds until after they changed… so they can’t tell you when, how, or what will change people minds in the future… they have no predictive ability. Sure, the bully pulpit isn’t a magic bullet, but it’s part of being an effective leader. We’re now seeing the Great Depression without FDR, and it ain’t pretty. It’s not just FDR’s speeches that Obama needs to copy, it his economics and leadership. Can anyone guarantee it would work? Of course not, but that’s no reason support a broken status quo.

  25. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/27/2011 - 09:18 am.

    Good points!
    As long as health care is privatized there will be incentives for businesses to cut costs, unless private insurance companies make it profitable for them.
    This is true for benefits in general — increasing workload doesn’t increase benefits, while hiring new workers does. That’s why increased business profits haven’t been accompanied by corresponding hiring increases.

  26. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 08/27/2011 - 10:43 am.

    #2 Kim – Agree with you.
    Obama is the antithesis of FDR and failed to blame Wall Street and large corporations for the depression (not recession) when he would have had public opinion behind him. To now give a speech in the FDR tradition would be phony.
    In our history the second terms of presidents have not been as successful as the first, which doesn’t give us much reason for hope.

  27. Submitted by Tim Milner on 08/27/2011 - 06:35 pm.

    #20 Richard

    You are absolutely right. For years, I have provided great benefits for my small business (~65 employees). Each year, it gets far more expensive and far more complicated. I have 2 pretty talented office workers who spend up to a 1/3rd of their time managing it.

    Each year, I try to minimize the impact of the ever rising premiums on the employees as best I can. I try to absorb as much of the cost increase as I can and modifying the plan as little as possible.

    But – only 25 or so people use it. Several use it extensively – making my “risk pool” very shallow – and ultimately very expensive. I have given out smaller raises to everyone in part so that I can have more to spend on healthcare. Is that fair?

    Now, my plan will be deemed “Cadillac” meaning that, even if I try and stay with my current plan, I will be paying a Cadillac tax on top of the ever rising premium.

    So I say – screw it. As soon as I can, I am out. I will pay the penalty (which, I should point out, currently is set at a rate that is $5000 a month LESS than what I and my employees pay each month) and let the government handle it. I will give my employees a one time salary bump equal to my savings – and let them work with the government on their healthcare.

    I will NOT be alone – many MN small business owners are planning to do the exact same thing.

    From my employee’s perspective, this will not be viewed as a good change. But it is clear this is what Obama and his supporter want. You got it!

  28. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 08/27/2011 - 10:22 pm.

    I’m forced to agree that Dennis tester at #22 states the issue: is Obama “in bed” with Hank Paulsen, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner?

    But I have to ask Dennis: why is this just a problem for Obama? Why do you tea party types excoriate Obama for being “in bed with” Paulsen(the Bush II Treasury Sec’y), Bernanke and Geithner when your darling Bachmann (or soon Perry) is “in bed with” Koch, Dobson, Bradley or other wingnut bankrollers? Why do you think this is just a problem for the “democrats”? Paulson was a Bush II Republican Treasury Secretary. Why is he just any problem for Obama and the “Democrats”? For that matter, why do you think only rich people have a stake in this country?

  29. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/27/2011 - 10:24 pm.

    Republicans have to understand that 2010 was a vote against the Democrats, not for them. 2012 will either be a continuation of the vote against Obama, or quite possibly the beginning of a backlash against the Republicans. The public is still much more angry than hopeful, and an angry populace will strike out in surprising ways. Continuing to stoke that anger will eventually backfire on the GOP.

  30. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/28/2011 - 07:37 am.

    Something that has changed within the last decade or two is that political views have become set in cement. Listening to the cable tv and talk radio gabble, I almost never have the sense that people are actually thinking. Instead, we get labels, talking points, stale, cliched arguments, reflexively expressed. What I never hear is a novel or interesting thought, or the expression of any idea that surprises me. Nothing is up in the air anymore.

    The immediate reason President Nixon resigned during the Watergate scandal was that he lost Republican support, both in the House Judiciary Committee and in his Congressional party generally. Such a thing would never happen today. First, there would have been no scandal, because no reporters today are interested in doing the kind of intense investigative needed to uncover such a scandal. Second, a modern President Nixon could count on one segment of the media to support him unreservedly under all circumstances, and the rest of the media to cover the scandal in a diluted fashion, reducing it to “he said, she said coverage”. And finally, in this partisan environment, everyone has closed their mind, except of course, independents, whose minds have been paralyzed in a state of openness, such that any coverage of a scandal that doesn’t fit within one’s pre-existing views is dismissed as bias.

  31. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 08/28/2011 - 01:33 pm.

    Ms. Pearson proves that a college education today is consumer fraud. She has absolutely no understanding of US history, FDR, or Obama. Any high school civics student could regurgitate her nonsense.

    In reality, Obama is not going to give the FDR specch because he is evil, stupid, and incompetent. IT has nothing to do with the alignment of Congress, which Obama created with his servile Wall Street policies, in particular his fanatical opposition to HR1489, the current bill to reinstate the FDR Glass Steagall bill to regulate Wall Street.

  32. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/29/2011 - 09:59 am.

    Obama is evil?

  33. Submitted by William Pappas on 08/30/2011 - 06:58 am.

    Dennis, that’s the first thing you’ve ever written I agree with. But the author falls into the rediculous trap that somehow both parties are responsible for the polarization and animosity in congress. IN fact, democrats have been moving to the right with alarming speed while conservatives have adopted a radical right wing agenda that just a few years ago would have seemed unworthy of inclusion in the entire dialogue. It is this radical development on the right and their unwillingness to engage in government that has created the political and legislative impasse. Let’s call a spade a spade.

Leave a Reply