Bush Had 55 Republican Senators and Got Everything He Wanted


Go read the whole thing here.

Someone is forgetting his manners. What's the magic word, Dan?
Might have something to do with your party sucking ass and consisting of a spine that spends most of its time getting drunk in bars while talking about how the man and everything else is bringing them down and oh my God I have to pay for shit.

Everything for nothing = the liberal opus.
*How can I be a victim today? = the liberal opus
Alan Grayson for president!
Thanks, Dan, these posts are helping a lot. I remember how, whenever the going got tough for Bush, conservatives gleefully undermined him.
Well of course that is nonsense, Bush didn't get everything he wanted, no Social Security privatization, no immigration reform, no full reauthorization of the Patriot Act, no Pickering.

Basically his only domestic accomplishment was the Tax Cut packages which were tad-da done through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process.
I'm reminded of something comedian Will Durst said back in 2006 when the Republicans lost so much control over the leg:

"The Democrats didn't win! The Republicans just lost more!"
It's official, Savage doesn't know shit.
#6: Well, don't get in the way of Dan's fever dreams with your facts.

John Aravosis is a whiny bitch. Bush was an asshole because he stuck to his guns too much, didn't listen to anybody and went to war. Obama is a weak pussy because he cares too much about consensus and doesn't fight *enough*. Bitch, bitch, bitch -- no matter who is elected leader, this guy will bitch because his paycheck rides on it. Get a fucking life, fuckwit -- no one gives a shit about all the hot air yer blowing.
Yep, this is starting to look like a one term Carter nightmare. I think that means we probably get another Reagan afterwards - some sort of Palin/ Joe the Plumber government hatin clown. Great, just great.

@ 6, good points - he also didn't get to fight Russia.
Bush wasn't better at "leading".
He had Cheney, Rumsfeld and a group of Senators who knew how to fall in lock-step. They didn't "lead" the country in a direction. They lied, cheated and stole to get their way and their followers pretend it didn't happen.
Democrats are notoriously bad at creating and following a "party line". We in-fight, back stab, criticize and complain that "it's not good enough".
We need to be better cheaters. We need to look the other way when our leaders lie, cheat and steal. At least it would be someone who has similar values to mine who was doing it.
I'm glad he won over McCain of course, but I'm also heartened to see the disappointment and anger of so many who treated me as if I were evil or even racist for not being part of the Obama-mania. The man is not LBJ, he just isn't, he's not willing to strongarm and make enemies even of those who already hate him.

Next time: research your vote, then spout off about the new America.

PS: thanks for not electing John Edwards - at least we dodged a bullet on that one. Bill Clinton redux.
I'm hesitant to call Bush's abuse of executive power "leadership". It was more like opportunism at a time when the populace was gripped by fear and paranoia.

Maybe you thought it was leadership? I don't know, I wasn't one of the people who lined up behind him like sheep when he decided he wanted to invade Iraq, know what I mean?

Bush could also sell an illegal war to left-wing gay Seattle atheists.
Bush could do it because Cheney was willing to take extreme measures against those who stood in his way.

Biden may be many things, but the Enforcer he's not.

And don't get me started on Reid.
If Obama would simply come out swinging and let the public know what he stands for, it almost wouldn't matter if he lost. We'd know he fought the good fight, stood up against the corporate thugs and their minions in Congress, and did his best for the common folk. Instead, with his passivity, backroom deals with Big Pharma, and sending Rahm the bull terrier over to tell Harry Reid to listen to Lieberman, all we get is the perception, true or not, that he lied to us the entire campaign. I didn't know if he'd really be FDR, but I thought he'd at least be the Obama we came to know during the election. Not a pussy, not a corporate slave, but a scrapper.
obama did not fight for public option nor organize la Ar nd........he said let'S sit down w insurers & obamatrons loved it.
Truman tried to get universal health care and failed. LBJ tried to get universal health care and failed. Clinton tried to get universal health care and failed. This bill isn't perfect but it gets us a whole hell of a lot closer to the goals that Democrats have been fighting for for a freaking half a century.

Keep in mind that Bush tried to pass social security reform and failed, tried to pass the defense of marriage amendment and failed, supported the '07 immigration reform bill and failed, etc. Legislating is HARD. He was able to pass major initiatives like the tax cuts because, well, it's hard for elected officials to vote AGAINST tax cuts. It's even easier to pass such initiatives when you aren't worried about little things like balancing the budget. Health care is a much stickier wicket. Something like 90 percent of Americans are happy with the healthcare they have, and their employers are paying for the care, so they will be fundamentally averse to reforming the system in any way that impacts their coverage, even if they understand the system is broken. So if Obama gets us anywhere closer to a system where companies can not discriminate against those with preexisting conditions or drop the already insured from their roles, he will have accomplished a ton. Health care is difficult to reform, and watching the process has been painful, but with a mandate and the aforementioned changes, the healthcare system will be better.

If you want to blame anyone, blame guys like Lieberman and Nelson. Obama isn't popular in Nebraska and Lieberman is immune to traditional political pressure, so I don't know what Obama could have done better to get their cooperation. In fact, Obama had stood up for Lieberman when the rest of the Dems wanted to kick him out of the caucus. Maybe it didn't help, but it certainly didn't hurt the prospects of HCR.

In conclusion, Dan, you got this one wrong.

and @18, did you not see the speech he gave on the floor of congress where he explicitly called for a public option? Some people forget so quickly . . .

Who cares if Obama is a one termer, at this point, he sucks, probably more than Dan Savage, and Dan is a professional sucker.
No leadership from the White House, and no leadership in the senate is dooming all big plans, not too mention an economy that is faltering, two useless wars and republicans who will fight anything that reeks of change.
Obama should be trying to get things accomplished, because after 2010 he certainly won't have more votes in the senate.
@21- "This bill isn't perfect but it gets us a whole hell of a lot closer to the goals that Democrats have been fighting for for a freaking half a century. "

No it doesn't.
Look, Obama's problem is that he believes all the hopey changey stuff he was preaching. He believes that he can work with Republicans, even after they've spit in his face time after time. He thinks that if he makes just one more concession, then everyone will join hands and sing Kumbaya.

I appreciate that he made a good faith effort to reach across the aisle. But once the Republicans chose to slap his hand away, that released him from his obligation to engage with them.

Rahm Emanuel is even worse. He absolutely does not care about the content of legislation passed. He just wants the headline saying that the legislation passed. It makes no difference if the new bills actually make things better. Hell, he'd be fine if it makes things worse. He's all about "optics" and spin.

Far from being this hard-nosed political infighter he's supposed to be, he's a wimp that stands for nothing and is all marketing and no content. It's like putting an email spammer in charge of your legislative agenda.
@23 - It doesn't? Really? What have you been fighting for?

I've been fighting for expanding access to health care and lowering costs. This bill makes significant strides on both fronts.

On the LBJ comparisons: LBJ had 68 Democrats in the Senate. And a fractured Republican party in opposition.
Obama has 59 Democrats plus one cranky Independent, a united GOP opposition, a fundamentally conservative electorate that doesn't want health care reform right now, and his own left wing bitching at him for not being tough enough and magically delivering single payer.

On Dan's comparisons to GWB: you've got to be kidding. Bush had his way with Congress? His major legislative accomplishments are an Education bill co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy (imagine how easy it would be to pass HCR with Jeff Sessions as co-sponsor), a temporary tax cut, and an expansion of Medicare (that many Democrats wanted). Not quite a conservative's wet dream domestic agenda.


In your comparison you're missing that the south still routinely elected democrats (ie they were still seen as conservative). Hence the legend of the "we have lost the south for a generation" quote. Remember, back in 1964 Robert Byrd was a Democrat from West Virginia.

Obama is missing one vote to avoid a filibuster. I'm annoyed at Liberman, annoyed at Conn., but I'm pissed at Obama. Do I know the words to make that 59 into 60? No, but I'm not the POTUSA.

As for a fractured republican party, we aren't going to get much better than right now. They may be united against Obama in many ways, but there is a leadership vacuam, a constant outbreak of scandals, and a general propensity towards the extreme that has turned off many Americans. If he doesn't push this hard, threaten who he needs to threaten, and make it happen now, there will not be a second chance, second term or not.
@26, that's assuming Obama actually wants to pass meaningful reform. Since lately he hasn't said a word publicly about wanting to do that, I'm leaning toward assuming he does not.
Look, I hate the compromises as much as the next guy, but @10 is right. John Aravosis is a whiny bitch. Newsflash: Obama ain't perfect. HCR ain't perfect. Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman are total tools.

But Dems that "stay home" because they didn't get 100% of what they wanted are frakking idiots. It will get Republicans elected, and then when Dems do come back into office, they'll be even more moderate.

The religious right is where they are today, influence wise, because they continually pushed the GOP to the right over 30 years, voting in ever larger numbers (esp. in primaries), volunteering, donating to specific interest groups, etc.

So the left should be angry, not whiny. And should complain, loudly. And should push their officials to amend this bill (starting next year) to make it better. That's how Social Security and Medicare improved from the POS state they were in when they first passed.
I think part of it is that democrats seem to care more about the long-term repercussions of their legislation and argue amongst themselves about small details while the republicans just throw paper on the floor and vote for it as a contingent whole. It's much easier to break down the former and the republicans seem to exploit that for political gain.
And this doesn't take into account the 8 conservative "Blue Dog" Dems in the Senate - Max Baucus, Evan Bahy et al - whose legislative and fiscal values fall much closer to those of their GOP colleagues than they do to most of the members of their own party.
I don't know about the rest of you but I don't know one goddamn democrat supporter who is as moderate, cautious, weak-kneed as the average democrat in the congress or white house. It is so lame, so ridiculous that it makes me suspicious. It almost seems like these democrats are fumbling themselves on purpose. I don't want to believe that but seriously, WTF.

Obama, Reid, Pelosi try not to seem too "left". THE REPUBLICANS CALL THEM RADICAL EXTREMISTS ANYWAY so why can't they stop holding themselves back??!? Maybe it's because they've never been as progressive as some of us have assumed?

LAMEST_POLITICIANS_EVER. We need serious campaign finance reform, immediately

But Dems that "stay home" because they didn't get 100% of what they wanted are frakking idiots. It will get Republicans elected, and then when Dems do come back into office, they'll be even more moderate.

If that's the message they get from Democrats staying home in 2010, then they're as stupid as they are weak-willed whores. Democrats voting for Republicans is a message that they want a more moderate Democratic Party. Democrats not voting at all or voting Green means they want a more progressive Party.

Why in the world would I have to spell that out? It doesn't take an Editor of the Harvard Law Review to understand that sometimes not voting is itself a vote when the person not voting is politically informed.

If the Democrats are so stupid that they'd consider a low Democratic voter turnout as a message that we want them to move further to the right (especially after so many of us voted in 2008), then they're stupid as fuck, and our nation is fucked and what's the goddamn point?
My bullshit detector is going off the charts. Leadership? Arm-twisting? That's awfully vague. What precisely should Obama do that would get Lieberman, Collins, Snow, and Nelson to move? Lieberman can be punished with a loss of committees and shittier office space. That seems to be a price he's willing to pay if he doesn't get what he wants.

There is still plenty of good in the bill that can serve as a foundation to build on. If leftists get sold into an "our way or the highway" attitude then you have just as much blood on your hands as Republicans and Lieberman. Even without the public option and medicare expansion this bill gets more people insured. That's a step forward and if the left manages to get this killed they are just as guilty as anyone.

This is a perennial problem with bitchy left-wingers. Walk away after a little frustration and getting your feelings hurt. That's bullshit.
@32 So your plan to retaliate against democratic politicians for not doing anything is to not do anything?
What's the old saw - I don't belong to an organized political party, I'm a Democrat? The same thing happened to Clinton.

Democrats in Congress are notoriously unreliable, and this is not at all surprising.

And as for Aravois' "analysis," well, my dog craps out more astute political analysis every day.
Yes to #6 above. What "Bush got everything he wanted' complaints omit is that Bush got *very little* of what he wanted DOMESTICALLY. The executive has a great deal of power over foreign policy, but very little over domestic policy, and while Bush got tax cuts ('cause tax cuts are an easy sell), he didn't get a repeal of the estate tax, Social Security privatization, immigration reform, and the list goes on.

As for this not-voting idea---well, that would be a very effective way to make liberal voters as powerful as inner-city black voters, which is to say, not at all. If you want power, first you donate to candidates you like, then you start witholding donations when you're unhappy. Not voting makes you not relevant.
You fucking idiots talk like there is a real difference between the aims and goals of the Democratic and Republican Parties. There's not. The major differences are in what bullshit they sell the people of this country. The Dems pretend to be "progressive" and "the party of the people" while the Republicans tend to be more openly pro-corporate. These differences are only appearances. They are both committed to serving corporate interests and US imperial dominance. Big business would prefer the no-nonsense Republicans (like they did Bush in 2000), but the Democrats (Corporate America's Plan B) are always willing to step in and "fix things" when the Republicans fuck things up too badly. That is what we are seeing: Barack Obama doing his damndest to save capitalism (bailouts? more war? health insurance bailouts) while working people get fucked. Open your eyes: Wall Street got bailed out and we're getting budget cuts (schools, health services, social services, etc.).

If you want the same shit, you vote for Republicans. If you want the same old shit with a smile, you vote for Democrats. If you want real change, you vote for neither.
This is why I supported Hillary up to the end. She has bigger balls than Obama any day of the week.
11 FTW

Obama is learning what Carter did,
it looks easy from the cheap seats,
on the field it is a whole different matter...
With a very few exceptions, Bush's 55 Republicans were all right-wing ideologues; Obama's 58-60 includes a number of men who would have been moderate Republicans if they could...and then cue the Will Rogers quote.
To Dan, and everyone else here bitching about the ineffectiveness of our elected Democrats, let me introduce you to the real target of your ire, the U.S. Senate - your worst nightmare. Not only does it provide equal representation to Wyoming and California, it also currently has a 60-vote minimum to pass anything, thanks to the borderline-unconstitutional filibuster, which has existed in its current form for less than 30 years.

You need to spend less time reading Americablog drivel and more time reading up on Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias:


The problem here, to be clear, isn’t that lefties are being too mean to poor Barack Obama. The problem is that to accomplish the things I want to see accomplished, people who want change need to correctly identify the obstacles to change. If members of congress are replaced by less-liberal members in the midterms, then the prospects for changing the status quo will be diminished. By contrast, if members are replaced by more-liberal members (either via primaries or general elections) the prospects for changing the status will be improved. Back before the 2008 election, it would frequently happen that good bills passed congress and got vetoed by the president. Since Obama got elected, that doesn’t happen anymore. Now instead Obama proposes things that get watered down or killed in congress. That means focus needs to shift.
Yay, new trolls.

Or not yay, I'm not sure.
Jade, could you please explain to me how Democrats not voting indicates Democratic voters want the party to move further left, and also, how this is apparently intuitively obvious?

Jade, could you please explain to me how Democrats not voting indicates Democratic voters want the party to move further left, and also, how this is apparently intuitively obvious?

Good morning, Christampa. Here's is my thinking. I was mainly responding to jcricket's assertion that if a large number of us who normally vote Democratic were to not vote in the 2010 election, that would convince Democrats that they need to be even more conservative. To me, that makes no sense. What I was trying to say is that if the Democrats interpret a boycott at the voting booth by their own supporters as us wanting them to be more moderate (i.e., conservative), then they're idiots. There's simply too much being said over the Internet, and on the news podcasts, and in the polls for the Democrats to think that their supporters want them to be more moderate. If they think that, they're deluding themselves. Not voting is itself a vote.

Moreover, the Democrats already know that the conservative faction of our country will never support them, no matter how "moderate" they are. That's been proven repeatedly (see, Gore, Kerry, etc.). So if they continue to court the moderate vote, they clearly don't want mine. Why should I vote for them? I'd be voting for a candidate who doesn't represent me. I might as well not vote at all.

That being said, the post at 36, makes a lot of sense. There's a real danger of this backfiring. But we liberals who are begging and pleading with Obama and the Senate to pass progressive legislation don't have a history of not voting. We vote every election. So, I was thinking that if we break our pattern in this next election (just this next election), it might send a powerful message. Because we can usually be trusted to vote, it won't make us irrelevant. It might make us quite the opposite.

But I might be full of shit too. I don't know. I've never not voted. It's uncomfortable to even think about. But at this point, I'm desperate to do something that will make a fucking difference, you know?

All of the arguments for and against boycotting the polls are compelling to me at this point.

Thank you for asking my opinion.
As others have pointed out, Bush was not really successful in the legislature.

This does not mean that the Republicans have not been more successful than Democrats generally in the legislature. I think this boils down to two things:

1) Republicans use the shit out of reconciliation, to great effect. I don't know what the fuck is wrong with the Democrats to take this off the table. I suspect congenital retardation.

2) Republicans are not pussies when it comes to filibusters. They are not afraid to threaten them for everything when they are not in the majority and when they are in the majority they are not afraid to call the bluff when necessary. On the other hand, the Democrats are afraid of their own shadows and will not filibuster themselves because it is too scary, and they roll over as soon as one is threatened against them.

I say that we should let those assholes filibuster. Put together a strong bill that has 54 or so votes. Let those elderly motherfuckers filibuster, and then when they are all on IV fluids and have passed the hell out, pass a good bill. While they are at it, they can have a set of ten or so other good bills to ram through at the same time.
@39 Oh yeah, Hillary (not Hilary) would definitely have gotten healthcare by now! She almost did it in 1993, right? Pray tell: how would she have convinced Sen. Lieberman, Nelson, and Landrieu? BS!

I second the other posters on this who correctly pointed out that Bush did not get everything he wanted: Social Security and immigration "reform" being the most prominent. And don't forget that he had 55 solidly conservative senators and 6-7 conservative Democratic senators to back him up. You Obama-haters need to understand American politics. It is about compromise, compromise, compromise.
R's also inserted the word "obstuctionism" into every statement they made, when it looked like the D's might muster the votes to defeat some Bush proposal or other. How hard would it be to do that?
I agree that Obama doesn't have the balls that Hillary does. He learned what Carter learned about the real political world. We should really blame the people who put Obama in office because of his promise to change health care in America. They thought it was a wonderful idea, until they realized that it wasn't free. How the hell did they think it was going to be bankrolled? Ya gotta pay the bills.How do we pay the bills? Taxes. The next time you vote for something like this you need to ask yourself what it's going to cost. Then you need to find out how much it's going to cost you personally. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Let's hope we don't end up with another borrow and spend republican. At least clinton beleived in paying the bills. Then George the Terrible undid all of his work, and gave most of it back to his rich friendsAs for Leiberman, he has no credability now. He's a cowardly, backstabbing pig who talks out of both sides of his mouth.He's only concerned with being on the winning team So that he can climb the political ladder.Bush didn't get everything because he was so reviled. He didn't accomplish much on foreign policy because the whole world hated him. He didn't accomplish much domestically because he didn't want to rock the boat, or piss his rich friends off.
@50 dani girl: I'm still waiting for some Hillary supporters to explain to me how she would have got Sen. Lieberman, Nelson and Landrieu to support a public option or a medicare buy in. Details--not fantasy, please.

People: This Congress is changing health care for the better. But it's all incremental...that's the American Way. What most Obama bashers fail to recall is that Obama never promised a public option, medicare buy-in or a single payer system. If you wanted that, you should have supported Kucinich in the primary/caucus.
This whole thing is do depressing. I know I'm not an American but I love America from the bottom of my heart and I feel your pain. Over here we'd say that Obama needs "a bit of mongrel" in him. That cunt Lieberman needs to be treated like a fucking pariah. Hats off to Franken for shutting his fucking pie hole the other day.

Having said all that, the willingness of Obama to sit and listen to people, to engage, and to not abuse process or power to get legislation through is why he's a good guy and Bush is an nefarious prick. It's why the left are right and the right are wrong. Let's not us on the left become what we have forsworn.
Jesus Fucking Christ.

You know why Bush got most of what he wanted? Because for the most part he wanted government to do NOTHING. He did nothing about health care, financial regulation, the environment and a host of other problems facing the country.

NEWS FLASH -- it's a hell of a lot harder to make real policy changes than it is to sit around your fucking ranch in Texas jacking off and waiting for the rapture.

Everyone who is all whiny and disappointed that Obama hasn't come in and automagically done everything they want need to wise up. Making policy in our system is hard. It's built to have CHECKS and BALANCES, which means that things take time and require a lot of compromises. Sorry. That's life.
@52: Well said.