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Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:13 AM

 

"Obama and the End of Greatness"

Decided to read the New Yorker tonight. Always love the writing, although the writers have gotten pretty stiff, could use some time at Burning Man. Or maybe it's the editors. Editors can turn wonderful prose into dreck, too.

In any case, Obama and the End of Greatness sounded pretty important, so I read it. The short story is that a former Clinton speechwriter tells us that Obama can do little more than show up and shrug, and that's OK. That we can't expect greatness anymore.

What have we become that we acquiesce to acquiescence? This stuff drives me $&@#ing nuts.

We can do much, much better, but only if we demand it. Indeed, we need a revolution. Hopefully one that's calm and without bloodshed, but the difference between what we expect and what we need is a grand canyon, and crossing it will be a bear.

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Arrow 54 replies Author Time Post
Reply "Obama and the End of Greatness" (Original post)
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 OP
NYC_SKP Oct 2014 #1
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #3
NYC_SKP Oct 2014 #4
Adrahil Oct 2014 #19
Andy823 Oct 2014 #53
Electric Monk Oct 2014 #2
Electric Monk Oct 2014 #5
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #8
underpants Oct 2014 #6
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #7
Algernon Moncrieff Oct 2014 #9
joshcryer Oct 2014 #10
bemildred Oct 2014 #11
madokie Oct 2014 #12
Scuba Oct 2014 #13
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #14
bemildred Oct 2014 #40
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #49
bemildred Oct 2014 #39
TreasonousBastard Oct 2014 #15
DerekG Oct 2014 #16
treestar Oct 2014 #17
geek tragedy Oct 2014 #18
Adrahil Oct 2014 #21
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #23
geek tragedy Oct 2014 #26
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #35
geek tragedy Oct 2014 #36
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #38
geek tragedy Oct 2014 #50
CJCRANE Oct 2014 #20
ucrdem Oct 2014 #22
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #24
ucrdem Oct 2014 #25
RufusTFirefly Oct 2014 #30
ucrdem Oct 2014 #31
RufusTFirefly Oct 2014 #41
ucrdem Oct 2014 #45
RufusTFirefly Oct 2014 #46
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #34
RufusTFirefly Oct 2014 #43
MADem Oct 2014 #27
RufusTFirefly Oct 2014 #28
QC Oct 2014 #32
RufusTFirefly Oct 2014 #44
DinahMoeHum Oct 2014 #54
BeyondGeography Oct 2014 #29
awake Oct 2014 #33
JTFrog Oct 2014 #37
msanthrope Oct 2014 #42
MannyGoldstein Oct 2014 #48
cilla4progress Oct 2014 #47
orpupilofnature57 Oct 2014 #51
pa28 Oct 2014 #52

Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:17 AM

1. Are your Ready for Mediocrity, 2016?

 

I can feel the yawn right now!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:20 AM

3. I can guarantee that Pres. Warren will not be mediocre.

 

I love her because she's smart, she's genuine, she fights, and she has gravitas. Politicians like that come along approximately once every never. She's in this thing to fix it.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:22 AM

4. Quite the opposite, indeed!

 

I was, of course, riffing off the "Ready for" meme used by certain, well, you know, "inevitable" typed.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:37 AM

19. She won't be elected Prs is 2016, so we'll never know...

 

But if she were, and she rand smack dab into a tea bagger Congrss and got squat done, I wonder what you'd say?

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Response to Adrahil (Reply #19)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 01:22 PM

53. Good question

I think a lot of the president bashers here would be do the same kind of bashing no matter what democrat was in the WH. The fail to understand that without a congress to back the president, not much is going to get done, and when the main goal of the republican is to "STOP" any kind of progress, as they have done with president Obama, we will have the same problems with getting things done.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:20 AM

2. Your posts often remind me of the late Bill Hicks, in a good way

 

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:25 AM

5. Oops, this is the clip I meant to post, but they're both good so I'll leave that earlier one.

 

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #5)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:53 AM

8. He's better looking and smarter than me

 

But he is good. And scary.

Thanks!

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:46 AM

6. This looks like a good thread and I want to get in on it

Got a link to the article ?

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Response to underpants (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:52 AM

7. Oops, here it is

 

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/obama-end-greatness

Added it to the OP too, thanks for the catch!

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:57 AM

9. The minute a President actually seems to be bringing change, Americans slam the brakes

This was true in this administration, and it was true during the Clinton administration. Both young, Democratic Presidents' both very well spoken; and both of whom defeated old Republicans who seemed to be out of ideas. Both brought us out of recession. Yet, in both cases, the first midterm in their administration brought about a seismic shift in th House of Representatives that -- at least in Clinton's case -- was never overcome. Contrast that with George W. Bush -- the country rallied around him after 9-11, and he got to enjoy having both houses of Congress be solidly Republican until the Iraq war was in total meltdown in 2006. Mind that Bush got into the WH with fewer popular votes than Al Gore, and barely beat John Kerry in 2004.

Part of the problem is what voters want is a moving target. 2008 is a perfect case in point: in 2008, the public wanted out of Iraq yesterday, and they wanted somebody to stop the economic free fall. Here came Barack Obama -- a refreshing, cool, young (in politician years) guy with a beautiful wife and family running on "Hope & Change". He got elected, had both houses of Congress, and set about ....making changes. The problem is that Americans typically don't really want change; they want comfort. So when Obama began changing healthcare, he caught Hell for not focusing on jobs. When he started pulling out of Iraq, some complained he wasn't moving out fast enough, while others were loathe to give up the gains their sons had died or been maimed for in Iraq. 2010 comes along; out goes Pelosi; in comes Boehner; and change grinds to a halt. As in '94, the Republicans did a great job of making people fear change, and Democrats did a poor job of defending their hard-won gains.

While we could, and should want and expect more, the likelihood is that Congress will be no less obstructionist, and after November 4th, the 2016 Presidential elections will begin in earnest. The Republicans will continue to blame the President for everything and hold hearings abut non-issues, and the President will begin thinking about where he'll be building his library and what he and Michelle will be doing in "retirement." It'll become about legacy. Meantime, the cabinet will likely be run by under-secretaries, as Cabinet heads take their leave to go write their books, and the Senate refuses to confirm any replacements.

At this point, I simply pray we aren't sending troops back to Iraq in 2016.

By the way, by 2018, the Republicans will talk about Barack Obama like he's some kind of long, lost buddy -- the same way they seem to talk about Bill Clinton (who, you might remember, they tried to impeach).

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 01:31 AM

10. Sounds like Shesol is laying the groundwork for Clinton distancing herself.

Which will send a mixed message since she is going with the "Americans are too down on their self," narrative. In particular, the CDC has done an excellent job, and the "need" for the CDC to be given a "stern talking to" by the President places the blame for trumped up panic in the hands of an administration and people who aren't responsible for anything that hasn't been completely blown out of proportion.

Indeed, the fact that the President did "hug a couple of nurses" is the best thing the adult in the room could do, with a mass media driven for profit that wants to trump up faux panic and moral outrage over complete non-issues that the administrations in charge have been handling rather well.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 05:02 AM

11. Yep, the Clinton's are just all over apathy and hubris. nt

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 05:26 AM

12. I agree

I spend most of the morning at my yearly VA checkup, blood work etc. and everything was going so so then a dude came in and turned the tv on. Yup you guessed it it was set at fox noise. In the hour and most of a half I never heard Obama's name so much in the prior 6 years. If you didn't know better you would have thought that there was hundreds of Obama's running around running for everything from dog catcher to ass wiper. by the time I got in to see my doctor I was a basket case, pissed off and in a state of panic. I say to him that boy am I glad to finally get back here to see you and he looked at me funny, we don't exactly like each other, I make my self clear the reason I said that about how the teevee was going on and about Obama did this bad stuff to Obama did that bad stuff. This dick of a doctor says well he is trying to change the constitution to where he can run for a third term you know. I rolled my eyes and then gave him the old evil eye and he turned to his computer and started to type. that was the end of that. I don't know and don't care who he votes for but I do KNOW who or what channel he listens to on the tv and thats fox noise. I will be asking for a different doctor as I don't think this jerk has my better interest in mind any more.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:24 AM

13. ...

 

“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
― Robert F. Kennedy

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Response to Scuba (Reply #13)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:33 AM

14. There are those who look at things the way they are,

 

and ask "how can I squeeze another buck out of those suckers?"

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #14)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:05 AM

40. I am glad to see we think alike. nt

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Response to bemildred (Reply #40)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:51 AM

49. Seek immediate help

 

The acute psychiatric unit at a major teaching hospital is your only thin hope.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #13)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:05 AM

39. There are those who look at things the way they are and ask "How can I make a buck off it?" nt

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:59 AM

15. Hey, the Age of America is over...

We no longer have any moral, technical, or even business leadership. What we have left is a huge pot of cash in private hands and hundreds of military bases. Everything else is slowly declining and the Europeans and Chinese are drooling over the pieces.

As citizens, we don't even have an American Dream we can take seriously. Kennedy and Reagan were the only two Presidents in my lifetime who spoke seriously of such a dream, but someone killed Kennedy and Reagan's turned out to a hollow nightmare.

I doubt we'll see a President who spends less time on Ebola or Iraq than on the water problems in the Southwest. We were once the Can Do country, but now we're the Can't Afford It one.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:59 AM

16. Don't despair Manny; history is unpredictable

It's true that our society hasn't had progressive momentum since the early 70s (and the last president to imbue the same sacrificed his Great Society in the jungles of Vietnam), but the winds can change in the oddest and most unexpected of fashions.

There will be monkeywrenches lobbed into the machinery of Empire, make no mistake.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:28 AM

17. I don't see a problem with that

What is "greatness?" Why do we need anyone "great?" We have self government of We the People. We can do it. We don't need to be "led" and indeed that system that the Founders gave us has no one leader.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:35 AM

18. When were we so great to begin with?

 

The Reagan Bush era? Under DLClinton? Under aWol?

The Vietnam-malaise era?

We seemed great when everyone else was down on their luck.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #18)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:46 AM

21. There is a persistent myth of...

 

The "Good Ole Days," even amongst people who should know better.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #18)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:01 AM

23. Washington, Lincoln, FDR

 

We've gotten greatness when we needed it and demanded it.

So far.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #23)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:06 AM

26. You listed war time presidents.

 

As in actual wars that posed an existential threat to the US.

FDR threw Japanese-American children in prison camps but refused to prosecute the KKK for its lynching campaigns. Be careful how you define greatness.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #26)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:37 AM

35. Washington and Lincoln made war.

 

FDR saved the 99%, then the planet, through decisive action.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #35)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:41 AM

36. And WWII had nothing to do with his legacy

 

or his economic record in office?

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #36)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:54 AM

38. In FDR's first term, unemployment halved

 

And GDP grew more than 8% per year.

"Bold and persistent experimention" vs. "Lloyd, Jamie... I can help you out on this..."

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #38)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:26 PM

50. Fuzzy math .

 

It fell by about 33% in his first term (23 % to 15%, then spiked back up in his second term). Care to guess when it fell below 10%?

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:44 AM

20. We need a great media more than a great president.

We need some great thinkers again and some great dissidents.

No country can be great without a well-informed and engaged populace.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 08:49 AM

22. Correction: it's not a short story, and it's written by (not about) a Clinton staffer.

It's an essay, i.e. a fancy op-ed. And it is a rather pedestrian hit piece, stitched together from bits of similarly shabby hit pieces like Maureen Dowd's. Not one of the New Yorker's finer moments.

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Response to ucrdem (Reply #22)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:03 AM

24. I meant "the short story" as compared to the "long story"

 

And indicated that the author had been in the Clinton's employ.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #24)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:05 AM

25. Story means fiction. This is a tendentious essay, written by an interested party. nt

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Response to ucrdem (Reply #25)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:39 AM

30. Are you deliberately being difficult?

Or does it just come naturally?
(Inquiring minds want to know!)

"Story" is a perfectly acceptable term for an item or "piece" (that one must really throw you for a loop!) in a publication.

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Response to RufusTFirefly (Reply #30)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:41 AM

31. Not in a publication that routinely publishes fiction.

The New Yorker is not a newspaper. And now you know!

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Response to ucrdem (Reply #31)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:06 AM

41. You must not be a regular reader.

With the except of the annual fiction issue, I'd say about 80-85% of the New Yorker is non-fiction.
I've been a subscriber for more than 30 years and a reader for almost 50.
In fact, I can remember when it used to arrive in the mail inside a brown-paper sleeve.
And do you know what that sleeve said on the outside?

NEWSPAPER

No, go, and never darken my towels again!

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Response to RufusTFirefly (Reply #41)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:12 AM

45. The term in the OP is "short story" and it means fiction in any context.

Look it up already. As for the New Yorker it was better when it published more of it, and its stories are still usually pretty good, which is why I clicked the link. But I haven't subscribed in a while though, no, and now I remember why.

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Response to ucrdem (Reply #45)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:15 AM

46. I bet you think a small businessman is a midget, too.

Context is your friend.

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Response to RufusTFirefly (Reply #30)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:33 AM

34. Well.

 

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #34)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:09 AM

43. Comes with the season, I guess

Dr. Hackenbush: I haven't seen so much mudslinging since the last election!

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:21 AM

27. Sounds like a lame riff on "The End of History"

by Fukuyama, and we found out tout suite how completely wrong that guy was.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:28 AM

28. I don't believe the Great Man theory of history -- with one exception:

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Response to RufusTFirefly (Reply #28)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:57 AM

32. You must be a Marxist! n/t

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Response to QC (Reply #32)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:12 AM

44. Sure!



Put 'er there, pal!

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Response to QC (Reply #32)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 01:31 PM

54. . . .and let's not forget "Lenin", either. . .

Last edited Sat Oct 25, 2014, 05:50 PM - Edit history (1)




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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 09:38 AM

29. This Esquire article does a great job describing how bollixed up we are

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/congress-living-hell-1114

Any President, especially a Democrat post-Citizens United and redistricting, has a ridiculously steep mountain to climb on the way to "greatness."

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:22 AM

33. I believe historians will judge Obama as a truly great president

Frist he save the U.S. auto industry and stop the Bush great recession form becoming the 2nd great depression. He started America on the path to universal health care by getting the affordable health care act passed some thing that many Presidents could not accomplish for nearly 100 years. He authorized the raid that got Osama bin Laden the man responsible for the largest attack on the United States since Pear Harbor some thing that Bush was unable to accomplish. He accomplished the destruction of Syria's chemical stock pile with out firing a shoot. Stuck with 2 botch wars he removed ground troops from Iraq and oversaw the winding down of the war in Afghanistan handing over the defense of that country to Afghanis while continuing to offer help to insure that the radical elements of al-Qaeda do not regain control of Afghanistan. Obama managed to accomplish this along with countless other policy changes with a congress bent of stoping him at every turn and little or no help from his own party who seem afraid to stand behind their own president.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:43 AM

37. You Better Believe It! n/t

 

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Response to JTFrog (Reply #37)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:09 AM

42. Damn!! Beat me to it! nt

 

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Response to JTFrog (Reply #37)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:42 AM

48. Ouch. nt

 

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:34 AM

47. I would like to think that after these mid-terms

Pres. Obama is going to turn up the heat.

He's done some magnificent things by executive order, I'll give him that - national preserves, etc.

But I want to see the Dems turn it on after this election.

On another point: I could not BELIEVE hearing even from Shields and Brooks on PBS last night that the Obama admin has done an awful ob of managing Ebola here. My GAWD! Only one person has died from it, not contracted here. Someone has to call these dudes on this stuff. It's so wrong and so destructive.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 12:33 PM

51. " Impeachment isn't on the table " was the end of greatness.

 

Since then the gap between eking out an existence and sucking resources and money like a black hole, has been historical .

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 01:12 PM

52. Reads like a more detailed version of the rationalizations I read right here.

Obama can only sign bills, Obama is handcuffed by Congressional Republicans Or the classic "if you expect more from Obama you must want a dictator . . . or a KING".

Perhaps the author is not considering another possibility. Obama's goal from the very start was to be a caretaker president who just wanted to re-establish the status quo in a time of crisis.

He's satisfied with his work as president. He preserved the existing system and many many fortunes and followed the neoliberal economic playbook to the letter.

As a finishing touch on his second term he can sign the TPP and put together a grand bargain with the help of a Republican congress. Maybe that's why he seems to be mailing it in right now. His job is done.

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