Let’s Make a Deal

I promise not to blame Obama for not doing what the Republicans prevent him from doing, not to exaggerate the power of the presidency, to acknowledge the constraints of a bicameral Congress, the reality of Blue Dogs and unreality of Green Lanterns, if…

…you STFU about SOTU, POTUS, and the next presidential election.



  1. Roquentin January 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm | #

    I didn’t even watch. I just don’t care anymore. I can’t even pretend like I do.

    • SocraticGadfly January 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm | #


      Problem is, Corey, there’s a lot he could have done in 2009-11, with Dems in charge, that he didn’t.

      Oh, like single payer. Or a neoliberal health care fix that actually worked better, especially the tech side. (Shocking for a Web 2.0 neoliberal to not actually keep a gimlet eye on how his “legacy” accomplishment was actually being put together, isn’t it?)

      Or, more stimulus.

      Or, better stimulus.


      Of course, there’s things he could do today that don’t depend on Congress.

      Like ending the war in Afghanistan. Full stop. Ending, not semi-ending.

      Like stop spying on us so much.

      Like stop continuing “renditions.”

      You get the drift.


      Of course, none of this addresses the ultimate issue, namely, that Barack Obama somehow seems more highly impressed with the mellifluous notes of his golden tongue than he should be.

      Or, as his predecessor said, “soft bigotry of low expectations,” maybe?

      • Laertes January 21, 2015 at 7:26 pm | #

        “Oh, like single payer.”

        I’ve never heard a convincing argument that Reid could have rounded up sixty votes for single payer. On its face that seems implausible, since Lieberman refused to vote for even a watered-down public option.

        I hear a lot of talk about bully pulpits, but very little honest engagement with the fact that Ben Nelson existed. If you look in a mirror and say “bully pulpit” three times, exactly nothing will happen.

        • SocraticGadfly January 21, 2015 at 7:46 pm | #

          Do we know that every one of the northeastern GOP Senators would have opposed single-payer with, say, a 3-5 year transition period? Or Lieberman, for that matter?

          Or that even if opposed to the bill, every one of said folks would have fought cloture?

          That said, the rest of my concerns in this area, namely with Obamacare as written and Dear Leader’s lack of attention to it after the passage of the law but before it became reality in action, still stand. As does more: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2015/01/corey-robin-says-stop-criticizing-obama.html

  2. L January 21, 2015 at 1:15 pm | #

    Maybe too we could concentrate on substantive criticism of Republican policies and proposals instead of bread bags? Or is that just asking for too much?

  3. SocraticGadfly January 21, 2015 at 2:07 pm | #

    Oh, hey, remember those halcyon days when Dear Leader asked for people (why didn’t he use the word “folks” way back then?) to criticize and critique him from the left?

  4. jonnybutter January 21, 2015 at 2:16 pm | #

    Actually, the bread bag story itself (which I just read now – thanks L! THANKS OBAMA) is funny. Ernst is going for homely ‘just plain folks’ appeal of course, but the logic of the story leads to stacks and ‘rows and rows’ of Iowa kids too poor to own more than one pair of shoes (just like her). Good times!! Let’s go back!

    That someone as clearly, honest-to-god-stupid as Ernst – who makes Grassley look heavy – is a US Senator is just one testament to how lame the Dems are. If you can’t beat a moron….

    • SocraticGadfly January 21, 2015 at 2:20 pm | #

      Hey, either Democrats will learn that neoliberalism is played out as much as a successor to the Great Society that was itself allegedly played out, or they’ll become neocons next and keep losing.

      As for Corey’s unreality of Green Lanterns, there is an actual Green Party.

    • Roquentin January 21, 2015 at 4:42 pm | #

      As someone who was born and mostly raised in Iowa, with a mob of hardcore conservative relatives, I can attest that this attitude is more commonplace than it should be. I had an uncle complain to me for nearly an hour about how medical bills were bankrupting him, only to be followed by tirades against Obamacare (not because it was ineffective either). There was a hopeless absurdity to that family gathering, and I’ve resigned myself to this dismal conclusion: past a certain point you can’t help people who refuse to help themselves.

      I find cornpone bullshit like this personally offensive. Nothing like making sure everyone thinks people from the Midwest are a bunch of dumb hicks.

      • jonnybutter January 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm | #

        I’m also from the midwest and still live there. I have no problem with poking at what we might call the [Yes, I *am* the King/Queen of] Sheeba Fallacy – i.e. everyday folks having been taught by teevee to insist that they simply *must* have ____________ (e.g. granite countertops, Nike shoes, etc.). It’s putrid consumerism and mass-fake snobbery (everyone’s ‘taste’ is exactly the same!). And there is actually nothing wrong with kids using bread bags on their shoes even if they have *more* than one pair!

        But Senator Ernst is such a dipsht that she not only vaguely gestures in that direction, but also in the very different direction of ‘let’s all be poor again like the good old days’. Whaaa? While Right reactionary policies actually do result in more and more everyday poverty, that is surely not what she meant to say or imply.

        Many years ago, I used to write very cheap commercial copy for local businesses. One of them was a mini golf place. The owner – a very nice and charmingly enthusiastic guy – called me all excited on morning and insisted that he had come up with the perfect ‘slugline’ for his business: “Minigolf: An Alternative To Something To Do”. I tried as delicately as i could to explain that he probably ought to phrase that differently because….er…I couldn’t say it to him, but he was inadvertently telling too much truth there. But he insisted. He thought that since he had used the word ‘alternative’ it was all good. No harm done though. People already knew.

      • jonnybutter January 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm | #

        However, in fairness to Ernst….

        If she had told that story in another moment, our idiotic DC political press corps (‘The Null Set’) could very well have seized on it approvingly, and made it the imaginary story of the week, day (or minute or nanosecond); they already call her ‘rockstar’ and the rest of that crap. So maybe not so hapless?

        Also, for the record, my ex inlaws used to castrate sheep on a big ranch and the preferred way was to bite them off and spit them into a bucket. Rockstar!

        Rockstar rockstar rockstar!

  5. Geoffrey Skoll January 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm | #

    But Corey, Obama is now making noises about pushing for laws that those who voted for him in 2008 thought he would push for in his first term when he had a Democratic Congress. But if he had back then, some of them would have passed, and that would have violated the gold (en) rule of Chicago politics: Don’t make no waves; don’t back no losers. And we all know the people are losers.

  6. xenon2 January 21, 2015 at 4:08 pm | #

    SocraticGadfly mentioned ‘Single Payer’. What would it take to have a government-sponsored product like Medicare For All, be the only health care available in the US?
    It would only work if everyone was a member, b/c the the larger the pool, the safer the product.Zillions of profit to health care industry would be lost.

    Medicare=adm cost 3%
    Commercial health Insurance=adm cost 30%

    CEO’s making $20M+, each are reason.They have lobbyists.They have the money for
    the next re-election, of every one in congress, each contender for the presidency, every
    bill that becomes law, in every state.They have a lock.

    So, it goes with each thing sotu addressed or didn’t address.

    • SocraticGadfly January 21, 2015 at 7:48 pm | #

      Let’s not forget that it was ppl connected to that health care industry that helped write Obamacare, of course. Even without single-payer, Dear Leader could have done better. And, yes, Laertes, gotten 60 Senate votes.

      • Laertes January 22, 2015 at 2:10 pm | #

        “And, yes, Laertes, gotten 60 Senate votes.”

        That’s twice. Say it a third time and it’ll become true!

  7. Snarki, child of Loki January 22, 2015 at 9:38 am | #

    “……you STFU about SOTU, POTUS, and the next presidential election.”

    NO WAY! That’s like taking kids to the circus, and not letting them watch the clowns.

  8. Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant January 22, 2015 at 9:47 am | #

    Corey, you did not say how long that deal holds — as time goes by it will be harder to keep. Especially in October of 2016.

    But in the meantime, what if we talk about THIS instead?:


    Any takers?

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant January 22, 2015 at 9:51 am | #

      Hey, my link did not get in.

      Ok, here is the title for you search engine athletes out there: “Charlie Hebdo: This Has Nothing To Do With Free Speech – It Was About War”

      Take two.

  9. Magical Thinking and the Paranoid Style January 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm | #

    Deal, can we talk about John Boehner’s flirtation with Netanyahu which seems perilously close to the T word, or at least seems as if the Speaker is acting as a foreign agent? Could one use the term MacArthuresque? Israel seems to have obliterated the lines of diplomatic decency at warp speed.
    Seriously would like to hear your take on this one Dr. Robin.

  10. gstally February 18, 2015 at 6:05 pm | #

    “Blue Dogs”

    My great grandfather told my grandmother “No working man votes republican!”

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