Oh, you want a dictatorship!

The far Left and the far Right both have some things in common.  They both have an innate belief that they, and only they, know the “truth” and want to “save the country.”  The other thing they have in common is a complete inability to understand the Constitution,  although they’re more than willing to use it as a convenient justification.   Virtually everything they say circles around  it.  Read them, and you hear the same things.  The President  should have “forced” Congress to do something, the President should “demand” they do this, the President should have “done” that by Executive Order.    He needs to be strong and forceful.   Reading all those comments, either in favor if their party is in the Presidency or worrying about it if their party isn’t, just tells me one thing:  They don’t want the system of government we have.

In the form of government we actually have, Presidents don’t get to order Congress around.  Really, truly, seriously.  A President can persuade, he can ask, but he can’t tell a Member of Congress what they’re going to do.  They don’t answer to him.  They answer to their constituents, and any President who tries the heavy handed “I’m ordering you” approach is going to seriously piss off that member of Congress.   Congress doesn’t get to order the President around, either.   They can pass laws – but he can veto them.  They can withhold funds, but that doesn’t necessarily stop him.  There’s another balance in the equation as well. The courts.  You see, the courts get to decide what is or is not “allowed” according to the Constitution.  So either one or both has to answer to that law.

That’s the form of government we have.  It’s creaky, sometimes arcane, frustrating, and often slow.  That situation is exacerbated when you have different parties controlling one or more of the branches.  Throw in regional concerns and priorities, and there is going to be a continuing set of conflicts and disagreements    Yes, some of the procedural rules in Congress could use changes, but the President doesn’t get a say in that.  That’s up to Congress.  But, like it or not, it has worked for the past 220 years.

Those of us who actually read the Constitution, those of us who have more than a passing understanding of history and government, understand that.  But, in reading through the pundits, the frustrati, tea party, various right-wingers, and so on, it’s  obvious that they don’t.   They want (or fear) a “unitary executive.”  Someone who, with a stroke of the pen or a loud bombastic decree orders something done, or a policy implemented.  The job of the legislature is to rubber stamp that, or produce the required law without any tedious debate needed.  There are countries like that.  We call them dictatorships.

Now they’ll all bluster and fulminate that that they don’t really want that, but read through what they say,  what they think a President can do,  or demand that he do, and it’s pretty obvious what they want.   I just wish they’d be honest about it.   They may want a dictatorship, but they’re not going to get it.  The worst thing  that could happen to them is that they get what they wanted. You see, in dictatorships, people like them are usually lined up against a wall, sent to re-education camps, or thrown in prison.   So they can bitch, scream, and whine all they want, but they can do that only because they aren’t getting the dictatorship they wanted.  It’s just not what we have.   I’m a pragmatist.  I’d rather deal with reality, and if I don’t like how the current Congress is structured, then I work to change the membership.  I recognize the very real limits a President has, and no, I don’t expect him – or want him – to be able to do something by decree.  I live in a representative democracy, like they do, and I’m damn glad of that.  Pity they aren’t.

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51 Comments

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51 responses to “Oh, you want a dictatorship!

  1. Eric

    Norbrook, i find it mystifying that there are adults that are spouting the sort of b.s. that would get them an F in my 9th grade civics class.We had to read passages from the Federalist Papers AND have quizzes based on our reading. The 3 branches have limited powers by virtue of that Constitution they are all so quick to go on about. The president is not the Green Lantern in that they can pass legislation by sheer will. If they want a gov’t that reflects their views, you have to elect Congress critters that share those views.

    Simple, really.

  2. I see we agree on a few things. I believe many people who are shouting the loudest about change in this country, need to go back to school and learn what the Constitution really says. This system, while slow, does work, the best way to change things is to go vote!

  3. The Constitution states a simple majority is all that’s required for a bill or confirmation to pass the Senate, but due to Republican abuses of the filibuster, all bills and confirmations now require 60 votes. Anybody who cares at all about our country should be outraged over the abuse.

    • fleetadmiralj

      Actually, the constitution says no such thing. It merely states that a bill that “passes” both houses and is signed by the president shall become law. A House can set that bar to be however high it wants it to be (presumably, as long as it’s at least a majority, and their might be an argument that 2/3 should be the upper limit due to it’s prevalence as the needed requirement for important votes). Indeed, you see this in the House all the time, on bills brought up under suspension of the rules, which require a 2/3 vote to pass. Under your argument, bringing up a bill under suspension of the rules is unconstitutional.

      The only majority requirement in the constitution is that it constitutes a Quorum. It’s generally assumed, under normal parliamentary procedure, that Houses operate on a simple majority vote, but they don’t have to, as the constitution allows them to create their own rules, as long as they don’t contradict the constitution.

    • Nathan Katungi

      Ben, I share your frustration with “Republican abuses of the filibuster.” Unfortunately, there is really no constitutional remedy for what the Republicans are doing. Article I, Section 5, paragraph 2, of the U.S. Constitution clearly states: “Each House (that is the Senate and the House of Representatives) may determine the rules of its proceedings.”. The filibuster is part of Senate rules that is aimed at protecting the interests of minority. There is absolutely no question that Republicans in the Senate are abusing the filibuster rule. But the Democrats dare not change this rule in case they end up as the minority and they have to prevent Republicans from passing extremist legislations.

  4. Though the mechanics of our government as described by you are correct, I think you’re mistaken.

    You start off mentioning both the far right and far left however, it’s clear your concerns are with conservatives.

    If I may, allow me to clarify a few things.
    Republican lawmakers were not demanding that Obama come up with his own bill. As you’ve pointed out, that is not his job and you might be surprised by how many Americans are aware of that fact and would be quick to call him on it. What Republicans were doing was trying to get a sense of what the president might be willing to sign. Somewhat unorthodox perhaps but not unheard of. Certainly the requests were not inappropriate as Obama’s demands were hard to nail down for weeks. If you want to get ultra-anal technical about our legislative process, bills concerning finance such as the one in question are supposed to originate in the House of Representatives.

    Your statement that, “…Presidents don’t get to order Congress around.” is accurate. It’s puzzling to me however that you seem to think conservatives believe the contrary. On at least two occasions I can recall Obama did just. “Ordering” congress to meet at such and such a time and ordering them to have a bill on his desk by whatever the deadline was. I’m quite sure Mitch McConnell even called the president on that issue and reminded him of the same facts you seem to think they’re oblivious to.

    To dumb down the differences between liberals and conservatives to the point that a statement like, “republicans want a dictator” is considered an effective way of making one’s point is kind of sucks all the legitimacy out of your implications that you know more than the average Joe about our system. It’s disingenuous at best. At its worst it’s nothing more than spewing more of the same rhetorical BS that has made it so painful to watch CSPAN for the past week and really does nothing to stimulate meaningful debate.

    I’m curious to know if you made the same claims of half the country desiring a dictatorship when Obama openly purchased the deciding votes on a healthcare package that the public was overwhelmingly against. Considering the definition of the word “dictator”, I would think Obama’s actions on healthcare come much closer than Republican lawmakers asking for a little direction on an issue that was coming up against a hard deadline.

    Though you start off sounding objective you end up sounding like a million other pissed off liberals who can’t believe their guy wasn’t allowed to plow over public sentiment and our political process as has been the case in the past. Not unlike your average dictator.

    • Um, no, I am just as concerned with the far left. Everything I just said in this post applies quite well – in fact, it was based on what various of the liberal blog comments have been saying. You need to take a trip over to Daily Kos, FireDogLake, or Democratic Underground sometime.

      In terms of the “public was overwhelmingly against” the healthcare bill, besides it not being true, you might want to take a look at the actual polls and break them down by the what the bill actually said, and it’s popularity. It turns out that once you do that, the public was strongly in favor of it. I’m amused about your complaint that the President “purchased” votes. Which is persuasion, not “ordering.” That’s not “dictating.”

      I can point quite nicely to a number of claims on the far right which, yes, quite nicely describe a dictatorship. Up to and including calling for a military overthrow of the government. Seriously. 🙄

    • majii

      What you don’t seem to get from this post is that many of us are sick of the extremists in both political parties. I taught U.S. History, civics, and world history for over 30 years, and nothing Norbrook stated in this post is incorrect. Saying one thing but doing another is a common trait of extremists on the right and the left. It is impossible for one to say how much one loves, and is dedicated to, the Constitution and constantly advocate to violate it at the same time. These positions contradict each other. It was YOU who made this a partisan issue, not Norbrook. Thanks for your comments because they confirm the points Norbrook was trying to make in this post.

      • Exactly. 🙂 I was actually responding to many of the comments I’ve been seeing on “liberal” blogs, and that it was taken to mean that I’m attacking conservatives just proves the point that both side’s extremists really want a dictatorship. Just their way.

  5. fleetadmiralj

    I’m guessing this is in part a response to a certain New York Times economist blogger. Yeah, when I read that he basically said he’d just declare that the debt ceiling was raised or invalid, my response was basically “you do realize we operate in a democracy, right?”

    • Yes, it is, and yours triggered this, but it’s been something that I’ve noticed for quite a while. It’s been interesting watching various “pundits,” who should know better, attribute powers to the President that do not exist, or attack because he’s not using those imaginary powers.

      • Dancer

        “INTERESTING”…try nauseatingly frustrating! I am constantly amazed that the people in this country don’t rise up against both the greedy wealthy who think they would be “sacrificing” if they paid anything like a fair share of the bill AND the inept, corporate media we have that appears determined to both dumb down the population AND direct the news rather than report it! I’m guessing from some of the replies here (one anyway) that the “dumbing down” is going quite well.

  6. Nathan Katungi

    Norbrook, I am delighted to see you back talking sense to all of us Americans. It’s really frustrating to see people, some of whom are supposedly so learned, talk from both sides of their mouths. They believe in Democracy, yet they expect the President to act as a Dictator. Case in point: I was really taken back by the people jumping on the band wagon in urging the President to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling. Some how pundits, and their followers, (including members of Congress) who absolutely had no idea about the history and legislative debates about Section 4, of the 14th Amendment were so certain that the President had Constitutional authority to invoke section 4, of the fourteenth Amendment to raise the debt ceiling.

    Along the way they totally forgot the fact the Constitution set up three branches of government with separate powers. Somehow they failed to read Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution which exclusively gives Congress the power over the purse, including the power to “pay debts” and the power “to borrow money on the Credit of the United States.” I challenge any one to show me where in Article II, which is all about the powers and responsibilities of the Executive branch headed by the President, the President can usurp Congress’ power over the purse. Frankly, I am delighted that we have a president who clearly understands and respects the U.S. Constitution by refusing to act as dictator.

    • Exactly. It’s like reading the far-right blogs, and seeing them on one hand talk about “restoring the Constitution” and on the other talk about armed rebellion and a military coup. That’s if they’re not talking about seceding, doing away with that first amendment part about “no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and ignoring various other “inconvenient” parts. In any event, it’s not coherent.

  7. Norbrook, you are right that both extremes want a “dictator” but they want their own personal “dictator” that they can control. They are all fools that I have no patience for at all.

    • The problem with dictators is that they aren’t controllable. 😉 Which is why they’re foolish, and why I said that they’d likely be among the first against the wall. Dictatorships tend to work that way.

  8. Alan Scott

    Norbrook,

    ” President “purchased” votes. Which is persuasion, not “ordering.” ”

    That is not persuasion. That is called ” Corruption ” .

    • Well, if you call promising to help fund-raise for campaigns, allowing a member to put something they want into the bill as an amendment, and giving them endorsements for their campaign as “purchasing” votes, then every politician in Congress is “corrupt,” Alan. I haven’t noticed the Republicans being particularly shy about such things.

  9. Alan Scott

    Norbrook,

    You are right, Republicans can be just as corrupt as Democrats . However I believe your memory fails you when you list what was bought and what was paid for . So I offer the following link. The most glaring ” bribe ” was the cornhusker kickback, where an entire State got an exemption for what you think is so ******* wonderful. If it was so great, why did so many people fight to get out of it?

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30815.html

    You splain to a poor stupid Conservative, why this law is applied unevenly across the nation. I thought laws were to apply equally . But then as in the book Animal Farm, some are more equal than others .

    • Well, for one thing, blaming Obama for deal-cutting in Congress by the Senate majority leader is rather specious.

      The reason “so many fought to get out of it” was because Republicans were dead set against anything – even when it contained most of their own proposals – and conducted a rather effective messaging war towards that end. The features of the actual law are turning out to be rather popular as they roll out.

  10. Alan Scott

    Norbrook ,

    ” Well, for one thing, blaming Obama for deal-cutting in Congress by the Senate majority leader is rather specious.”

    All do respects, I find that a truly amazing statement . President Obama turned over , no that’s not right. President Obama delegated responsibility to Harry Reid to make the deals to get his pet project passed . Reid did not make any deal that President Obama did not sign off on .

    But then it is a pattern. The President allowed Democrats in Congress to craft his stimulus instead of making a concrete proposal. Congress being Congress naturally loaded it up with pork. The total failure of that stimulus speaks for itself .

    Then we just had to debt ceiling fight . The President, as is his pattern, never put anything concrete in writing. Vague promises that even Rinos wouldn’t fall for . At least Reid and Boehner had written proposals to fight about . ” Where is your plan, Mr. President ? ” Again it was delegated to Reid.

    That ain’t the way a leader leads.

    • JojoRaze

      The president’s proposal about revenue and fiscal issues is his budget, you know the one that got rid of oil subsidies and was very progressive that not even Senate Democrats voted for in the spring when the clean debt ceiling vote failed because Senate Democrats didn’t stay unify and vote for it either. You are not paying attention.

      And even so, it is The Congress’s job is to pass legislation. It is Harry Reid’s job as a legislator to write legislation. That is why there are three branches of government. Leader doesn’t mean dictator or whatever Rambo caricature you think it means.

      Progressives, so called, also forget the multitude of times the President told Democrats in 2009 and 2010 to vote for progressive legislation, the tax cuts only for the middle class, for a clean debt-ceiling vote and they all played “That black man is not the boss of me.” I specifically remember Axelrod and Geithner on every pundit’s show in the spring and summer of 2010 saying the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be cut and two DEMOCRATIC Senators and representatives would come out and say they disagreed with this that “No one’s taxes should be raised right now.” If you want the president to lead, how about asking for Democrats to not chop his legs off when he and the administration spent months on messaging last summer on that issue.

      And don’t get me started on Guantanamo. At every turn Democrats and Republicans in the Senate voted to not give the president money to close it despite him issuing that executive order. Not ONE DEMOCRAT voted to close Guantanamo. The vote was 96-0. Feingold voted the same way as Mitch McConnell. Even during the Dec 2010 deal you still had Democrats running around shivving the president about Guantanamo that Eric Holder had a conniption fit about them threatening to not give him money to try anyone from Guantanamo here. So let’s not pretend the so-called failure of the president being progressive was his fault alone. Harry Reid, Feingold and Barbara Boxer had as much blame, because they begged the president to not force them to vote on raising taxes on those making over $250K.

    • treestar

      As soon as you talk about a leader and leading you are indicating you’d prefer that dictator. Obama has his style and it succeeds. All I see is you complaining about that style here.

      The President assigning his pet project to Harry Reid? That is exactly what Norbrook pointed out was not possible. The president cannot assign anything to the Senate – the Senate has to want to pass it. Their considering what a President would sign keeps them from wasting their time.

    • It’s not the president’s job to write legislation. He can state his goals and priorities, and he does, very specifically. But Congress is responsible for writing legislation. That’s why they’re called the Legislative Branch.

  11. Nathan Katungi

    With all due respect, Allen, the President, in this case demonstrated respect for the three branches of government. The President can make recommendations, but it is up to Congress to craft specific legislations. Democrat members of Congress, who at the time were in the majority in both houses of Congress, do not have to abide by presidential decrees. They are bound by the Constitution to legislate. The President can veto the legislations but Congress can override his veto by 2/3rds majority.
    By the way you keep claiming that Congress loaded the stimulus bill with “pork” without citing any concrete evidence to support your accusation. What exactly constituted ” pork” in the stimulus bill? This is standard right wing talking points b.s!

    • “Where’s your plan, Mr. President?” as Boner, er Boehner would ask rhetorically during press conferences. That’s where the right-wingers got the idea that Obama was supposed to craft legislation. Right-wingers aren’t very bright. 🙂

  12. Alan Scott

    Nathan,

    I am having to research ancient history about the stimulus. I kinda thought everybody and his brother understood what a worthless boondoggle it was. I see I was mistaken. Well here is what I meant . The WSJ says it better than me.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123310466514522309.html

    Again, the President put nothing in writing . Democrats have broken promises to cut spending after they got tax increases, for decades.

    Oh buy the way, how come your party did not pass a budget for 2 years ? They had majorities . How responsible was that ?

  13. Hilda

    As the previous comment proves, our current “system” is not working because it is extremely difficult to govern when one side is completely insane.

  14. Germany stands as an example of what can happen if both sides compromise and look at things pragmatically. They’ve saved their social welfare system, but reformed it. They passed a balanced budget amendment (left and right agreed), but increased taxes alongside spending cuts. Left and right came together to solve problems, not hide behind ideological banners. And guess what — they’re out performing everyone else. To be sure, they didn’t climb aboard the deregulation mania in the 90s and thus didn’t have the same kind of financial meltdown the US, Iceland, Ireland and others who took the “free market gets it right” approach. That helped them too. Pragmatism works.

    • Great point. 🙂 I think what bothers me about both sides’ extremists is that they’ve failed to learn from history, and seem bound to repeat the mistakes.

    • Germany is a poor example, as they have a parliamentary democracy. German voters cast two ballots in any election: one for a local candidate and one for a party preference. The candidates who win local elections go into the Bundestag or Bundesrat, respectively, and then each party’s representation is matched to the voters’ party preference votes. If a party earns more seats (by voter preference) than they elect candidates, they choose from a party ranking list to fill out their seats.

      Usually either the SDP or CDU/CSU get the most seats, but neither gets enough seats to form a majority government. The one with more seats will then form a majority coalition with smaller parties. SDP usually partner with Alliance90/Greens and Die Linke; CDU/CSU usually partner with the Free Democratic Party. The majority coalition then elects the Chancellor.

      The key is that the majority coalition have enough votes to pass any bill they propose. The negotiations for the contents of the bill happen within the majority coalition; they don’t need the “other side’s” votes.

  15. Aneil

    A confused, misleading analysis. First, Constitutional scholars and Bill Clinton agree that Obama could have and should have used the 14th Amendment and decoupled the debt ceiling from the budget. Second, aggressive (but legal) leadership can and has served the our country well.

    Our National Parks system is the result of aggressive last-minute executive action by Teddy Roosevelt. Conservatives in Congress had passed a bill opening up vast lands for development; Roosevelt in the days before the bill came due signed thousands of acres into the public parks system We can only speculate and count ourselves lucky that a toothless President like Obama and his feckless supporters weren’t in power at that time.

    The President’s defenders are confusing compromise with capitulation, when what we need is tough negotiation. Any negotiator starts by staking out his ideal position. For Democrats (and the majority of the public) this was Universal HealthCare (as a slew of polls http://www.medicareforall.org/pages/Chart_of_Americans_Support has shown). Yet Obama secretly negotiated away even the second stop position supported by over 70% of the general public. Insurance company stocks soared on passage of the final deal.

    Let me ask – what did Obama extract from the Republicans for renewing the Bush tax cuts last year? It was well know that Republicans would use the debt ceiling as a negotiating chip; it would have been a straightforward case to make at that time. Increase the tab if you want your tax cuts for the rich. Yet, because of Obama’s capitulation strategy, we can now only look longingly at that lousy outcome. A real leader would have at least made the factual case that the Bush tax cuts and wars were the number one contributor to the deficit. Oh, of course, Obama would have had trouble making that argument too because of his continuation of Bush war policy (though delivered with soothingly soft Obama rhetoric), as many Neocons such as Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney and William Holden openly gloat.

    Yet, here we are. Critics of this President and his long sad record of capitulation want “dictatorship” in your words. The state of confusion amongst liberal invertebrates is why they will own a generous share of blame for the difficulties facing this country.

    • No, “constitutional scholars” most certainly did not agree that Obama could have used the 14’th Amendment. In fact, the majority of them stated that he couldn’t use it for that purpose.

      You’re still being a drooling fuckwit, you know? Helpful hint, stupid. There was NOT support – or the votes – in Congress for universal single-payer healthcare. Period. It was a non-starter. You can have all the fevered dreams that somehow every single Democrat in Congress was for it (they weren’t) and you still can’t get ith through.

      As to what Obama extracted from the Republicans for renewing the tax cuts? Oh, let’s see… how about an extension of Unemployment benefits? How about the payroll tax break for small businesses? How about college education loans? How about the tax break for the poor and middle class? All those nice progressive things. All you’re demonstrating is your contempt for the poor. You’re just like the teabaggers, in that you’ll cheerfully sacrifice any number of other people to get your pure stance.

      • D.Z.

        “In fact, the majority of them stated that he couldn’t use it for that purpose.”

        Really? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/14th-amendment-obama_n_910398.html

        “There was NOT support – or the votes – in Congress for universal single-payer healthcare.”

        Yes, no support or votes, even though only five Dems were actually against it. I heard the same argument about impeaching Bush, too. Getting old. The Dems just want to enable corruption and abuse of power; and as long as they have enough followers sucking up to them, they’ll continue doing so. I don’t like the tea-baggers personally or politically, but at least they’re smart enough to realize their party’s just gaming ’em for votes.

        “As to what Obama extracted from the Republicans for renewing the tax cuts? Oh, let’s see… how about an extension of Unemployment benefits? ”

        Which expire at the end of the year.

        “How about the payroll tax break for small businesses?”

        And what good’s that going to do when people can’t afford to patronize big-box discount businesses?

        “How about college education loans?”

        That’s just what young people need. More aggregated debt which will not help them find a good job.

        “How about the tax break for the poor and middle class? All those nice progressive things.”

        The progressive thing would be to arrest everyone who’s screwing over the poor and middle class.

  16. heubler

    “I recognize the very real limits a President has, and no, I don’t expect him – or want him – to be able to do something by decree. I live in a representative democracy, like they do, and I’m damn glad of that.”

    You make pretense at knowing American history and the Constitution. Do you agree that the Emancipation Proclamation was both a presidential decree, and good for the country? Did you overlook that? It was at a point in our history when “representative” government failed, horribly, to address it’s own inherent hypocrisy regarding slavery, and American ideals of freedom.

    • Apparently you don’t have quite the understanding of history that you claim. The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to those states “in rebellion,” not the United States as a whole. Even then, an argument could be made that it wasn’t necessarily “constitutional,” although that point was rendered moot by the 13’th Amendment.

  17. E.A. Blair

    “They don’t answer to him. They answer to their constituents…”

    You’re delusional. They don’t answer to their constituents; they answer only to their wealthy donors.

  18. heubler

    Now you’re picking at gnats. And if you’re re-read my post, I make no personal claims of historical authority, merely present the case. Are you really going to strain over the fact that it only applied “to those states in rebellion” and not mention the fact that he was acting by decree, to keep the union whole, regardless if it applied to twenty rebellious states or only one, if that had historically been the case? Look, I’m a liberal, but I don’t like sloppy thinking. Yes, it is better when the system works as intended, but there were times in our past (and such could happen again) when a president should act like a dictator, to fulfill democratic ideals and preserve the Union, as Lincoln did. That I can’t right this minute think of an example that might occur, today, to prove my point, doesn’t preclude such from the realm of possibility (remember, history often repeats itself).

    And if you’ll read my opening line, I said you make pretense of knowing history, I didn’t say you claim to be an authority, so I’m not trying to construct strawmen simply for debate purposes.

    • I never claim to be “an authority,” but I do know enough of history – and how to look up sources to make statements. He didn’t make that decree strictly out of the goodness of his heart, and his reasons for limiting it were not “to preserve the union,” as you put it, but to keep those slave states which were on the Union side there.

      And yes, you are constructing strawmen.

  19. Pingback: Oh, you want a dictatorship! | Norbrook’s Blog « Susanthur Political Observer

  20. D.Z.

    “In the form of government we actually have, Presidents don’t get to order Congress around.”

    Yeah, and Johnson should have let the systems of checks and balances eventually end the problem of segregation on its own.

    “But, like it or not, it has worked for the past 220 years.”

    Except for that time where we had to go to war because the opposition party didn’t want even a reduction in slavery. Or that time where Congress impeached one of our Presidents over a blow-job…Or that other time when Bush *should* have been impeached, but wasn’t….

    • Ahh, the usual deification of some past President. Did you ever look at the history of the Civil Rights Act? Really, you should. Not the hagiography, but the actual nitty-gritty. Did you know how it got through? It wasn’t because Johnson “ordered it.” Did you know that Senator Hubert Humphrey had to purposely put in an amendment to weaken provisions (i.e; specifically banning busing as an option) to get it through? There were a lot of little things like that once you get past it.

      Yes, it has worked. Most of your complaints are “I didn’t get what I wanted.” Have some cheese to go with your whine. Oh, and it wasn’t “the opposition party” that started the Civil War, stupid.

      • D.Z.

        “Did you know that Senator Hubert Humphrey had to purposely put in an amendment to weaken provisions (i.e; specifically banning busing as an option) to get it through?”

        Yes, but it got through. As opposed to a health care “reform” bill which did anything but, and which did not actually address the problem.

        “Oh, and it wasn’t “the opposition party” that started the Civil War, stupid.”

        Well, the leaders of that party, anyway.

        • Uh, it addressed quite a few problems. I don’t notice you complaining about the things that Bernie Sanders slipped into it for community health centers. It also addressed a number of other problems as well, for example, pre-existing conditions and set a level that insurance companies must provide.

          The fact of the matter is that your “ideal” solution was not going to happen. The President could have, as you wanted, stood at a podium making speeches until the cows came home, and all that would have happened would have been … zip. Nada. Not going to happen. That was obvious right off the bat. Now, what did you people do? Screamed, moaned, and handed the House over to the Republicans, who are busily trying to remove any hint of government healthcare. You could have gotten more Democrats elected, maybe even primary a few, but you couldn’t do that. No, you sat your asses home and pouted.

          That’s why I wrote my follow-up – of when I’d listen to you people. Right now you’re just farts in the wind.

          • D.Z.

            It doesn’t address insurance companies engaging in price-jacking, which is the main problem. Nor does it deal with denial of service for special medical issues. And if it wasn’t going to happen, why did he imply it was, and that I should vote for him for that very reason? Oh, and don’t blame the voters for the GOP taking over. They’re in a crappy economic situation in which they don’t see anything getting better, and what do the Dems expect? Plus, they throw their own base under the bus, in order to stump for sell-outs like Blanche Lincoln. And they weren’t even willing to stand by their own legislation, either. As for getting *more* Dems elected, you seem to forget what normally happens during mid-terms of an incumbent President. The fact of the matter is they were going to lose seats, anyway. To lose as badly as they did, however, just shows who really screwed the pooch on that one.

  21. Alan Scott

    Scott,

    It’s true Germany is doing well. It is practically the only European social welfare state that is . I am betting that Germany won’t be able to save the rest of the welfare paradises. Even the French will not be able to keep their screw the rich economy going much longer.

    Senistar,
    Your Wall Street article shows what they thought at that time. Obviously they were premature. Yes at that time appearances were positive. Time has shown that all the benefit was temporary . By your folks’ own yardstick the stimulus was a dismal failure . I mean the administration predicted that the stimulus would keep the jobless rate below 8%. If you look at how much was spent for such a small result you would have to conclude that I was more than right .

    And as far as Republicans being hypocrites , since your Democrats were spending ” our ” tax money regardless, it is not hypocritical to try to get some for your state. Democrats were wasting the money anyway. It’s not like the unspent money was going towards paying down the deficit . I don’t believe in the SS ponzi scheme, but since you people refuse to refund my money with interest, when I become eligible you bet your sweet bippy my hand will be out just like every other ole timer . Same logic. Call me a hypocrite.

    ” So much for your made up history. ”

    I do not make anything up, least of all history . I may from time to time be in error, but I do not make things up . In this instance I happen to be accurate .

  22. heubler

    And yes, you are constructing strawmen.

    ————-

    Name one.

    That you don’t attempt to dispute my contention in any way that in some extreme cases, dictatorial actions are required to maintain the Union, tacitly confirms the assertion. I understand you have intellectual property to protect (your site), but I would suggest you consider historical perspective when making political pronouncements. Take it for what it’s worth.

    • You started right off with one and now you’re beating the crap out of it. You take Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which, as I pointed out was limited in scope (purposely) and was never tested in court, and use that as an argument as to why a President has extreme powers to ignore Congress and the Constitution. Thus, you prove my contention that what you really want is a dictatorship.

      • D.Z.

        This is the same court which advocated the argument that the Constitution did not apply to black people, and you’re trying to suggest that it was Lincoln who was abusing his power in that situation?

  23. Looks like you touched a nerve here, Norbrook. Excellent post … thanks for pushing back against the Hero President meme.

    It is no more reality based than the Goat President meme.