Democracy In Action

Yesterday the President went to Baltimore and spoke to the House Republican retreat. I saw a bunch of tweets and headlines about it yesterday so I used the "add to boxee" bookmarklet and this morning I sat down and watched the talk and the Q&A session on Boxee on our big screen in our family room.

The talk is 20 minutes long and is worth watching.

But the Q&A is even bettter

Watching both videos is a big time committment and certainly is much easier on the big screen at home than on a laptop or desktop. But I'd encourage everyone to do this. 

I sure wish we'd see more of this kind of talk in Washington. Obama talked a lot about "post partisanship" when he was running for President but we've not seen much of it since then.

Both sides have very valid points of view in my opinion. And what I'd like to see is less posturing, less staking out positions, and real debate, dialog, and compromise. I don't know if any of that is achievable but yesterday's discussion in Baltimore sure gives me hope.


Comments (Archived):

  1. im2b_dl

    Totally agree Fred…and/but …Fox News has come out in every clip I have seen and either trashed the event and/or shown the questions with edited snippets of the answers. We have a news network that was designed and created in 1996, literally by PR experts from two and tabloids. During the event they were the only news network that broke in on the second question (when it became clear that one guy fielding open questions from 140 different people who have problems with him ..clearly had more stats and numbers knowledge/awareness about every question than any of the individual questioners)…and so they went to pundits talking about Scott Brown and “Republicans taking back America”. That is hard for reality to fight when news can be a label used for such. Breaking “A large green monster might eat Tokyo” and “Santa wore red …perhaps a message of closeted republicanism?”. Thus …is the problem.

    1. fredwilson

      Not everyone watches fox newsI watch cspan via twitter/facebook to YouTube to boxeeI suspect the next generation will prefer that approach too

      1. im2b_dl

        The numbers unfortunately are swayed because of diversity in news sources…people are attracted to news via emotion (as the case with a majority of media choices unfortunately for fact based information dissemination). Central US #’s for those less metropolitan markets show crazy influence numbers of Fox. I do hope Obama says ..sure…lets do this for transparency. I hope C-Span gets more access to this kind of debate…but unfortunately as Luke Russert was reporting yesterday that a number of the republicans (of course off the record) were upset that they “made the mistake” of allowing the cameras in. (Funny thing is…The same cameras that they blamed Obama for not having watch every discussion on healthcare.)

    2. brmore

      And there we go … post-partisan discussion lasts LESS than one post in the discussion. I didn’t vote for the President, and I don’t agree with many of his ideas … but I am VERY glad that some sort of dialog across the aisle has started. I think it’s a shame it took a year to figure out that the country is too diverse for the magic “60” to mean what everyone thought it meant, but glad we might be past it. We’re going to have to start talking to each other someday … why not today?

      1. fredwilson

        Right on

      2. JLM

        You hit the nail on the head — we’ve got to start talking WITH and TO each other.President Obama talks AT us and LECTURES us. The novelty has worn off.I personally like his lectures because it allows me not to be seduced by his considerable charms.Ohhhh, he would be very dangerous is he were able to say “…Now ya’ll are smart fellas. Reason along with me here and let’s figure this out together. I need your help.”It scares me how effective he might be if he were more guileful and open to just a bit of real or feigned uncertainty and vulnerability. But he is smart, just not that smart. He is obvious and heavy handed at times.How many people in Massachusetts have or drive a pick up truck? So when President Obama was making fun of Downtown Scottie Brown’s pick up truck was he very smart? I have a 4-door Chevy leather interior ranch pick up truck and I went out and changed its oil to assuage its anger about that comment. I made my wife’s Lexus stay out of the garage in the cold in retaliation.Remember he has only gone from 60-40 to 59-41. The greatest legislation in the history was created with nowhere near a 59-41 balance of power. If a guy can’t win a couple of rounds with a 59-41 advantage, we may need to dial up the bull pen.

        1. fredwilson

          did you watch the Q&A? he said exactly that. that’s why i posted it

          1. JLM

            Yes, I told him to say that in our last coaching session. LOLI often find myself agreeing with the President intellectually and falling out of love when the details of implementation are fashioned. Many challenges faced by the President are not fundamentally political nor driven by political considerations.

  2. chrisdorr

    Thanks for posting the video Fred. I also saw this on my big screen last night. It should be required viewing for every US citizen. Obama is at his best when he answers questions and talks about the real stuff of government. You realize that whatever one feels about his political positions (ones which I tend to favor), we have elected a very smart, thoughtful leader, whose command of the facts and legislation is astonishing.It is remarkable to see his back and forth with Rep Ryan from Wisconsin, as they talked about the arcana of budgeting, which might seem boring–but it affects the lives of everyone.I suspect however, that the Republicans will not do this again. Because a serious debate held so everyone can see between Obama and anyone, will always favor him–he is simply that good. My guess– as a result of this public debate, his poll numbers go up, the Republican’s will go down. The Republicans will suddenly have many reasons why they will not have the opportunity to repeat this in the future. That will be unfortunate for all of us.

    1. matjen

      Good lord. Take a pill for that man crush.

      1. im2b_dl

        I have the same man crush… .. the same reason I have one for Fred… ; ) …brains and a thoughtful intellect.

        1. matjen

          Well then you should realize how silly bashing Fox news is. We do agree on Fred though. He is certainly dreamy.

          1. chrisdorr

            Actually it is not silly to clearly state the agenda of FOX news. It is factually correct that most news outlets carried the President’s interchange with the Republicans live without interruption–i.e. with no editorial interruption. This allowed us to see everything as it unfolded–a civil debate between the President and his Republican critics. FOX did not–they felt the need to interrupt it repeatedly with their commentary, thus depriving its viewers of an objective view of the proceedings. It is their right to do so–but their viewers and the public are not properly served by them doing so.

          2. fredwilson

            just like techcrunch did with the video of mark pincus talking about the zwinky toolbar. take out the context and everyone will look bad. the fox approach is way too common in both old media and new media

          3. JLM

            The flow of information nourishes one’s intellect and influences one’s view of the world in much the same way that the decision to eat at an Indian or Italian restaurant nourishes one’s body.To suggest that there is a single “correct” view of the unfurling of contemporary events is to limit the number of flavors our minds and bodies can savor and enjoy.I have thoughtfully considered the possibility that Fox News may have a particular “flavor” to the their presentation of events and simultaneously considered the notion — far fetched as it may sound — that maybe even MSNBC holds up a unique lens to its view of the world.And I conclude — so what?I desire that broad diversity of thought and the stimulation it provides to my own intellectual musing because I can determine the magnitude of their influence upon me by a simple touch of the television remote control.But what really intrigues me is the implications of the ratings in which the number of viewers stands as an imprimatur for perhaps content, view, lens and any of a number of qualitative comparisons.Fox News’ ratings seem to stand for some common democratic principle amongst its many viewers, much the same as the counting of the votes on Election Day stands for some embrace of governing philosophy by the voters.I could be wrong.

          4. chrisdorr

            I believe that the first standard to judge a news outlet–i.e. one that “reports” the news–is the following–does it report the facts? FOX news does not even meet that minimum standard–and I believe–it does not want to. I think all of us should be skeptical of any news outlet that actively distorts the facts on a regular basis. It does a deep disservice to us as citizens in a democracy.As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said and I paraphrase–“we are all entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts”.FOX News wishes to present the news as they see fit without regard to the real context “i.e the facts”. They made an editorial decision to not present the totality of Obama”s debate with the Republicans, i.e. the facts of the back and forth as the questions were asked and answered. They felt it necessary to remove the facts quickly from their viewers and create their own filter before their viewers could see the facts for themselves.They have the right to do so. But it prevents many people from seeing the truth and making up their own minds. In my humble opinion–not good for the country.

          5. JLM

            “FOX News wishes to present the news as they see fit without regard to the real context…”Whose vision of the “real context”? Yours or the apparently overwhelming number of Americans who have voted with their television remote controls to make Fox News the most popular cable news channel in America?Turning on a camera and then hitting the play button a time or two has damn little to do with the “facts” or the quality of the facts. It simply provides an accurate view of the events as they unfold. There are many things which are on a television screen which have absolutely nothing to do with “facts”. They are simply pictures and not a whole lot more.”Obama’s debate with the Republicans…”Obama was not “debating” with the Republicans. He was speaking AT them. He was lecturing them. The Republicans did not invite the President to “debate” them, they invited him to speak WITH them and to draw from him his unfetterred views with no limitations as to subject or time.The President took questions but he really missed the golden opportunity to ASK a question — how can we truly work together?It would be very difficult not to say that the Republicans’ invitation was quite generous, gracious, sincere and serious. President Obama missed a genuine opportunity to open a meaningful and two way dialogue.This is what comes of speaking AT an audience rather than communicating with and forging a link with an audience. It is the difference between a lecture and a dialogue.

          6. chrisdorr

            Here is what is most fascinating about your remarks. You go on about Obama’s interaction with the Republicans and provide your interpretation of what occurred. To do that as well as you have you had to see the discussion from beginning to the end without interruption. I assume that you had a chance to do so and therefore your critique was well informed.Fred presented readers of his blog with that opportunity to be well informed. We got to see it as it happened. FOX News did not give their viewers that opportunity. Other news outlets let it run without interruption. In my opinion Fred and the mainstream media outlets that ran this event without editorial interruption did the country a great service. FOX, by not doing so, did the country a disservice. Surely you would agree with that!

          7. JLM

            I certainly agree with the proposition that to forge an informed opinion of the portent and content of the Republican’s invitation to the President to appear and speak at the Republican caucus’ planning session it was useful for some to view the entire exchange.Perhaps where we differ is the suggestion that Fox News had any obligation to provide that particular service to me. I am independent thinker, have a huge television and a very serviceable remote control.I found what I required to inform me rather than depending upon anybody else’s sense of what I needed to know. That is why I am not particulary impacted by whether my sources come packaged in an MSNBC, CNN, Fox wrapper. I watch them all and evaluate them independently for my own purpose.I have the attention span of a 2-year old, the curiousity of a cat and a lightning fast TV remote control finger.

          8. ShanaC

            I disagree that you are not impacted. That’s like saying that 5 year olds can’t name different brand names. They can/ The wrap of media is impactful, and there are people who measure it.If it weren’t impactful, detournement would not work. And yet it does.I would ask you- does Fox create a Spectacle of the news, and if so, does it change the nature of what we consider news? Not so simple…

          9. JLM

            You are seemingly injecting conflict where none really exists. I do not expect Fox and MSNBC to agree on the portent of events. I like to hear both of their views and then fashion my own views. Knowing that I do not expect them to agree — or said another way expecting them to disagree — places absolutely no pressure on me to somehow make them conform to each other.An example is the recent decision to “nationalize” the student loan programs.The decision was predicated upon the magnitude of the government subsidy provided to the loan administrators and the cost of the loan guarantees — all of which could be reduced to numbers — and the wisdom of having this program outsourced to the private sector, a qualitative decision.Is the incremental cost worth it? Could the government actually reap the savings? Would the students be served in a timely and adequate manner?In the end, I personally decided it was a worthy experiment and the savings were worth the risk.

          10. ShanaC

            I think it is good that you hear both sides of the story and choose your ownopinion. Nevertheless I still find it odd that anyone would say that theyare not impacted by the wrapper that they get their news in. The fact thatyou are trigger happy with a remote means you get a lot of news sources. That may not be true for everyone. The wrapper does matter.Even both on the experimental side (both for liberals and conservitives) andon the media side (for both conservatives and liberals) almost every studydones to show media bias has shown, media bias (though some with mixedbias).Though at least we know you have judgement. It’s do we take off ourwrappers or not, and if so how?

          11. fredwilson

            moynihan always did have a way with words

          12. matjen

            chrisdor, do you care to explain the disparity in eyeballs that JLM and I have pointed out. Your subjective judgments are really meaningless. For each instance you point out I can point out an opposite instance. Is this your version of the truth? Has a FOX “newscaster” said anything so ridiculous? facts or logic can you point to other than your own opinion to support your conclusion about FOX?Again, I am not claiming FOX to be any better. They are the same with different perspectives. I think that is the not only the correct view but also the reasonable view.

          13. chrisdorr

            The fact that FOX gets a lot of eyeballs or more eyeballs than another media company does not validate its approach to news–it is not more factual in its presentation because more people watch it. One does not cause or validate the other. I believe you would support this position, correct?The point that I made was very simple, (please see my response to JLM for more detail.) That is, FOX chose NOT to show the exchange between the President and the Republican members of congress without interruption and instead began editorializing very soon after it began and did not permit its viewers complete access to the conversation. We can speculate as to why they did this—it does not matter. The fact is–other outlets showed it without interruption, with “just the facts”. FOX deprived its viewers the opportunity to see it as it happened and therefore its viewers did not see “the facts”. That is an objective difference between FOX and its competitors.

          14. matjen

            chrisdorr,I get what you are saying about that ONE news decision. Let’s assume you are right. I have shown two examples of bias the other way. 1) Scott Brown speech coverage, 2) Olbermann being a complete lunatic. We could go on forever with this.NOW, I agree that just because FOX has more eyeballs doesn’t mean it is correct. The second part of my argument is that the country is roughly 50/50 R and D. Somehow the Dems have been put in power right? Now start there and explain how FOX destroys MSNBC and CNN in the ratings. Explain how talk radio supports Rush and Hannity and many others on the right but Air America is out of business. There is only one reasonable explanation. Much of the old mainstream media (“MSM”) is leftward tilting and has been for years. They balance each other out.Ailes/FOX and Rush saw the untapped market. Basic economics.What is your explanation?

          15. chrisdorr

            Yellow journalism has a long and successful history in the United States. FOX news is just the latest instance of this. William Randolph Hearts built an empire on it–so too has Rupert Murdoch. So you will get no argument from me that if you want to make money in journalism, distort the facts, rant and rave and appeal to the paranoid amongst us. Roger Ailes is a very smart man who has understood this for years and is putting it into practice to great economic success. That does not mean he or FOX is doing objective, thoughtful, ask the tough questions about everything no matter the political winds of the moment.The notion that the mainstream media is left leaning is also amusing for me to hear–an oft repeated notion from the right wing. Do I think that Keith Olbermann and Rachel Madow have a liberal perspective that they articulate on their shows? Absolutely. Do I think that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR or PBS have a liberal perspective that they articulate on their news shows? No they do not. Do they appeal to the paranoid amongst us? No they do not. Do they do enough courageous investigative journalism that questions the government and corporations about the exercise of their power? No they do not. So they could be much better than they are. But to regard the news that they cover as the same that FOX covers, simply from another point of view is pure fantasy. They aspire to present the facts. In my opinion, FOX only presents the facts when they feel it fits their point of view. The marked difference in the way the discussion between the President and the Republicans was presented by FOX and everyone else is yet another instance of that fundamental difference.

          16. matjen

            I thought so. No rational, factual argument. Just opinion. PS. Don’t forget Pulitzer when speaking of yellow journalism. Since we are talking ancient history, take a look at how the NYT covered the Soviet Union. Pulitzer prize winning stuff no less. I claim that Obama is a Communist because Alger Hiss was an elegant, connected lawyer and a Communist.You are right of course. The NYT hasn’t endorsed a Rep Presidential Candidate in over 50 years, Dan Rather was put to pasture in shame, the head of the BBC was put to pasture in shame, Moyers, Stephanopoulos, Russert (he was the best of the Dems for sure though) had no reason to lean Democratic, etc.Here is a academic paper that actually claims FOX is closer to the middle than your favorite MSM sources. And yes, I am aware that Soros funded MediaMatters is very critical of it.…Money quote: ” Consistent with many conservative critics, CBS Evening News and the New York Times received a score far left of center. Outlets such as the Washington Post, USA Today, NPR’s Morning Edition, NBC’s Nightly News and ABC’s World News Tonight were moderately left. The most centrist outlets (but still left-leaning) by our measure were the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, CNN’s NewsNight with Aaron Brown, and ABC’s Good Morning America. Fox News’ Special Report, while right of center, was closer to the center than any of the three major networks’ evening news broadcasts. “

          17. chrisdorr

            Matjen, please define “center”.

          18. matjen

            Far right of you no doubt! 🙂

          19. chrisdorr

            The basis of the report you linked to on media bias all depends on defining “center”. OK, so what is center? Are you capable of defining it in your own terms? I would think so. Otherwise, you will not be able to make a media bias argument on your own terms. So, please let us all know, at your convenience.

          20. matjen

            In all seriousness, the academic paper goes through the methodology in painstaking detail. Enjoy.

          21. chrisdorr

            Yes, I know, but this one academic paper from 2004 does not matter. What matters is what you believe is the “center”. So , what do you believe, or is it to difficult for you to think it through?

          22. matjen

            Well on a macro level (as JLM has alluded to I think), I would say pure center would to a) just list everything that happened on each day, and b) add no opinion to the reporting. Neutral word choice, etc. Every news organization makes an editorial judgment on what to report and then how they report it. So they are all data points to be consumed and considered.

          23. chrisdorr

            You are missing my point. What is the political center, as it exists in this country today? How would you define it?

          24. matjen

            chrisdor I made my argument on what center generally is. A balance across the 50/50 voting spectrum. Where exactly that is I don’t claim to know. I have made my argument based upon the macro spread of eyeballs matching up pretty well with voting patterns and have called out extreme instances of leftward malfeasance.Your argument is citing yellow journalism and how one exchange was covered.

          25. chrisdorr

            OK, let me try something concrete and pose you a question. I believe it is a center position that every citizen in the United States should have access to affordable quality health care. And I further believe that it is a center position that the government should play a role in making that happen as every other industrialized country in the world has already done. And there are many models to choose from private, to public to some mix of public and private. Do you accept that as a premise, that every citizen in the United States should have access to affordable quality health care?

          26. matjen

            It seems to me impossible try and go by each issue. Health care/insurance reform is an amazingly complicated issue that a single sentence can’t cover. What is affordable and what is quality? This country has a different viewpoint of the Dr/patient relationship than most. We expect more and are willing to pay for it. For better or for worse. So I don’t accept your premise. I think it is fair to say we would all love affordable and quality healthcare. It is how that can happen…the details that cause the problem. And I am annoyed by our columns getting narrower!

          27. chrisdorr

            This is what I continue to find fascinating. Whenever I have a discussion with someone with conservative leanings and I ask a specific question about policy, they can or will not answer. What makes it so difficult to agree that every US citizen should have access to affordable quality health care? This is a concrete problem that we need to solve, conservatives are unwilling to even try to solve it. Why can you not take a position? It is either yes or no! If it is no, than have the courage to say it!

          28. matjen

            see above

          29. matjen

            From the top. Too narrow. What part of ” I think it is fair to say we would all love affordable and quality healthcare.” didn’t you understand? See this is the problem when I talk to liberals. They are stupid. I am kidding of course…but that is what your statement sounds like when you categorize conservatives. Healthcare is amazingly complicated. So much so that the Democratic caucus failed at it without any need for a Republican obstruction. Listen to what NPR has to say about it: this american life episodes 391 and 392 you can download from itunes or from their website:

          30. chrisdorr

            Yes health care is complicated. So is life. But the only way we as a country are going to solve it is if we all agree that we should make it possible for every US citizen to get affordable quality healthcare. That should be a common goal. Tell me if you agree or not. You have not yet done so, except with an attempt at humor with, “we would all love”. Why the avoidance? Is this a problem conservatives really want to solve? Is this a goal you agree with or not? A simple yes or no would suffice.

          31. matjen

            We would all love affordable and quality healthcare isn’t humor it is a fact. We would all love a pony would be humor.We all want high paying jobs. We all want pensions. We all want to be in the best schools. It’s the details man. It is also the priorities. Most people are happy with their healthcare compared to how they feel about the economy.

          32. chrisdorr

            So, I take it your answer is no.

          33. matjen

            There is no requirement to answer something yes or no. I answered your question…twice now.

          34. chrisdorr

            Only the desire for transparency. Which I assume you aspire to. And also being honest with yourself and others. Which I also assume you aspire to. Is it so difficult to actually state what you believe? I thought conservatives had bed rock principles that made it easy to take a stand. If I asked you whether you supported the invasion of Iraq you could answer that couldn’t you? How is the question of whether we as a country should support affordable quality access to health care for all its citizens any more difficult than that?

          35. matjen

            Well now it is obvious that you live in a black and white and good and evil cartoon world with no ability to discern any subtlety. Thanks for playing.

          36. chrisdorr

            There you go, ducking again. One does not live in a cartoon world if one can answer questions yes or no. Especially when stating a common goal which I think we can all agree on. How we get there is of course complicated and subject to much honest debate, but the goal not so.

          37. im2b_dl

            lol. “dreamy”

          38. matjen

            Hmm. Let’s assume that to be true. What tremendous bias! We go on forever with examples I’m sure for both sides. FOX and talk radio lean right and CNN and MSNBC and WaPo and NYT lean left. They balance each other.There was an election that this whole country was watching about a week ago. A political news event that simply destroys the importance of this exchange with the Rep Caucus. This guy named Scott Brown (sarcasm) pulled a significant upset and ran directly against the most important legislation pending in the country. Somehow MSNBC (37%) and CNN (26%) failed to cover his speech while FOX covered it and Coakley’s in their entirety.…Somehow this country is approximately 50/50 R and D yet FOX’s rating are greater than CNN and MSNBC combined. Again, they balance each other.Moreover, FOX is now considered the most trusted network in a recent poll.…Face it, all mainstream media is in the infotainment industry. FOX is no different than the rest.

          39. im2b_dl

            Not to get on a political note here but c’mon…Brown is a senator of one state who has not even served in the Senate yet…and has the exact same beliefs/platform George Bush ran on…but ask a mass native and they don’t beleive that even though point by point is listed on Brown’s website and his voting record…(first)..and as a MA native who grew up in those blue collar Boston suburbs and heard the reasons why people voted for him…daily. It had very little to do with the substance of the healthcare debate or Obama. It had to do with a lot of spin, lack of information and an understandable impatience with the recovery.. and a very limted understanding of the locomotive we have barreling at us (and more our parents who 60% of us on this track will have living with us and have to take a 2nd mortgage out to cover their care soon) in the form of healthcare deficits and healthcare costs doubling within 15 years. Put that on top of a candidate that I wouldn’t have even voted for (Coakley)..and crazy viewing numbers of Fox (which really was founded by Republican PR machine – go read Roger Ailes history) So that is why one senator from one state did not have his entire speech covered on a national news station that has yet to serve in the Senate… and it is also the reason Fox does not stop covering one senator from one state that has not even served in the Senate yet.

          40. matjen

            Good lord. You aren’t being political at all. You are being obtuse. 🙂 Keep drinking that kool-aid.

          41. im2b_dl

            lol if you say so.

          42. JLM

            George Bush? George Bush? Hmm, the name seems so familiar but I just can’t remember who that guy is? Was he involved in politics some time ago? Oh, is this a trivia question? An old time politics trivia question?Let’s give old George Bush a rest, allow him to enjoy his retirement and maybe deal with the realities of the world and our Nation as they exist, say, TODAY!A careful scrutiny of Sen Scott Brown’s campaign would suggest that he ran for office in Massachusetts (having served in its Legislature both as a Rep and a State Sen for 11 years) espousing opposition to the President’s healthcare program — the “41st vote” as I recall.He further suggested that he was more inclined to fund opposition TO terrorists than to support expending funds to appoint lawyers FOR terrorists.One could go on and on, but what is obvious is that these issues simply did not exist nor are they related to the politics of one George Bush — who by the way has not stood for election since Nov 2003.What is interesting to speculate about is whether the electoral embrace of Downtown Scottie Brown is an indication of a serious trend in electoral politics. Is he a meaningless development, a fluke?Or is his election in such a predominantly Democratic state when coupled with events in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Great State of New Jersey indicative of a trend which bears watching?

          43. fredwilson

            our country is uncomfortable when either party is too much in control. look for a slight move right to check the dems unchecked power right now. that will be a good thing. i am not sure we’ll see a big move right though.

          44. JLM

            I stick my neck out to observe that America, for whatever reason, is prepared to make wild swings where once upon a time it engaged in timid, mild course corrections. These will be dye your air pink mid-life crazy course corrections.I predict a stupendous change in the direction of America’s political winds. Not because of “personal” issues or even candidate issues or party politics issues but rather because of large philosophical issues which may not even be political.Look for a big coalesence of the radical middle — with center right, center left and independents to form an almost unidentifiable and immeasurable coalition of the “pissed off center” and for them not to vote FOR candidates as a general proposition but rather for them to vote AGAINST candidates.Look for an electorate which does not even bother to identify itself as a Republican or a Democrat or an independent. They are just “pissed off”. Pissed off has become the organizing theme in the center.Incumbents beware! It is Spring Cleaning time.

          45. fredwilson

            yes, i posted about that a while back, “Throw The Bums Out”…we are in a very anti-incumbent mood here in the USthat may be a very good thingand if someone started the “Far Center” party, i’d sign up in a nanosecond

          46. JLM

            Yes, I remember it and agreed with you then and now.

          47. Dave Pinsen

            The only cable news channel I watch now is Bloomberg TV, which is a level above the rest, IMO. It’s a yelling-free zone. If I want political punditry, I can get a better (and smarter) selection of it in print or on the web.Back when I did watch Fox, there was one pretty decent show: Special Report w/ Brit Hume, though it’s worth noting (as Mickey Kaus) has noted in the past, that Fox didn’t promote the conservative line per se during the Bush Administration, but the administration’s line. There’s a distinction there, because a lot of conservatives opposed some Bush Administration initiatives (e.g., the Bush-Kennedy-McCain plan to increase unskilled immigration), and those conservative voices weren’t given an airing on Fox.

          48. fredwilson

            i think of true fiscal conservatives as anti deficits and the onlyadministration in recent memory to take on deficits was the clintonadministration

          49. Dave Pinsen

            That was certainly the only administration to post a surplus in recent decades, but that was more of a happy accident caused by a historic economic bubble. If memory serves, even the Clinton administration’s own initial projections during its first term didn’t predict surpluses in its second term.

          50. fredwilson

            he was certainly helped by the economybut he also had the right policies

          51. JLM

            Saying that the Clinton administration posted a “surplus” requires you to look at their “income statement” no deeper than the “gross profit” line which ignores the realities of intergovernmental transfers (the SS IOUs as an example).Look down at the NOI or “earnings” line which subsumes the impact of intergovernmental transfers (corporate overhead) and removes or otherwise posts the impact of related party transactions and you will see that, in fact, there were no Clinton surpluses. None.Look further at the B-O-Y national debt balance and the E-O-Y national debt balance for each and every year of the Clinton years and you will see that he added to the national debt every year.The Clinton spending outcomes were very good but they were not surpluses. Thank the Republican Congress when you are handing out blame. Ooops, I meant credit. Sorry.I am taking all comers on a heads up bet — a bottle of your favorite bubbly for all who choose to bet that the Clinton administration operated at a surplus and reduced the national debt.

          52. JLM

            Even fiscal conservatives have and use credit cards, the real question is not how or if they use them but rather how they pay off the resulting balance.In fact, Clinton had next to nothing to do with the magnitude of the deficits during his term. Having inherited the last vestiges of the Reagan tax cut low hanging fruit (which even GHWB did not screw up), the 1994 Gingrich Revolution put the Republican hands firmly on the fiscal steering wheel and they plotted a course whereby the rate of spending increased at a lower rate than the rate of tax receipts.Not really an advanced mathematical concept.Clinton happened to be standing in the back of the Cadillac convertible when they passed the reviewing stand thereby carving his name into the annals of history associated with this serendipitous circumstance.All it would take for us to dig ourselves out of the current deficit trend would be to resist the third dessert while maintaining a constant level of spending for 5 years.Not a faux — raise spending by 30% and then “freeze” it ‘feel good, fool the masses’ charade. Hell, include the entire damn government budget — defense, homeland security — no sacred cows. Remember, we are at already record levels of spending, so we are not talking the high hurdles here, folks.Just a modest skinless roasted chicken spending discipline coupled with only 1 dessert and then we are there!

          53. fredwilson

            c’mon. give the man his due. he could have lowered taxes and increased spending. he did the opposite. he created the largest budget surplus we’ve had in a long long time and which Bush gave away in two idiotic tax cuts

          54. JLM

            Hmmm, you may have to review what actually happened during the Clinton years.In fact, when Newton Gingrich was elected to Congress in tandem with the 10-point plan Contract with America it proposed and the President signed the first capital gains tax DECREASE in 17 years. Clinton did, in fact, reduce taxes.The CBO scored this tax decrease as a tax revenue INCREASE as it unleashed pent up capital gains profits which resulted in an INCREASE in tax revenue both in the CBO analysis and in reality. Tax rate decreases can increase tax revenue. Say it slowly and let the words melt off your tongue as it is the most delicious concept in taxation. It is delicious.Clinton, no dumbie, signed all bills presented by the Congress. The Congress delivered to the President — a sitting Demcoratic President — the line item veto which unfortunately the SCOTUS found to be unconstitutional. Nuts.Congress controls the pursestrings. Clinton got to ride in the parade. Newton was the Parade Grand Marshall.The Congress reduced taxes, increased revenue and kept spending at a rate of increase less than the rate of revenue increases. Voila! Deficits came down. It is magic. But it is not difficult magic.This is why the current situation with a Democratic President and Congress is so pathetic. The President’s greatest adversaries are his own party members.The President went from absolute control to 59-41 control. Hardly a loss of real power. Boo hoo!

    2. matjen

      Wrong again. Republicans and a bipartisan group are asking for regular meetings and the White House is balking. Yup, “he is simply that good.”…

      1. chrisdorr

        I guess we will see how it unfolds when Republicans and Democrats gather with the President to discuss Health Care reform. Does this qualify as a “meeting” in your terms? To be televised. Will the Republicans have ideas that stand up to independent scrutiny and CBO analysis? Or will they be spouting more rhetoric about death panels? Will be interesting to watch. This discussion will be good for the country.

        1. matjen

          Time to take off the partisan blinders. As of September here is a list of Republican legislation in the House. H.R. 77; H.R. 109; H.R. 198; H.R. 270; H.R. 321; H.R. 464; H.R. 502; H.R. 544; H.R. 917; H.R. 1086; H.R. 1118; H.R. 1441; H.R. 1458; H.R. 1468; H.R. 1658; H.R. 1891; H.R. 2520; H.R. 2607; H.R. 2692; H.R. 2784; H.R. 2785; H.R. 2786; H.R. 2787; H.R. 3141; H.R. 3217; H.R. 3218; H.R. 3356; H.R. 3372; H.R. 3400; H.R. 3438; H.R. 3454; and H.R. 3478.Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexamin

          1. chrisdorr

            So you don’t think this health care discussion will be good for the country? A simple yes or no will do.

          2. matjen

            Yes, and we have been having that discussion for the past 12 months. In fact, with complete Democratic control the only recourse the Republicans had was the First Amendment. They used it well, but don’t let it be said that the President lacked access to it. Given Mr. Obama’s bully pulpit and his omnipresence on the national stage, his voice has been louder than anybody’s. If Mr. Obama has lost the public debate to the beleaguered rump that is the congressional GOP, he has nobody to blame but himself.

          3. matjen

            I should clarify that my “Yes” was that discussion is good.

  3. kuldeepk

    off the topic….why the presidents/politicians have to give so many speeches and we as people more used to judge them based on what they “talk”…on the other hand we don’t expect so many talks from entrepreneurs and we judge them based on what they “do”. May be I need a to post a new blog on this topic to help me mull over it

  4. Larry Bruce (@pcmguy)

    Fred as a VC I’m sure you have seen this before. Two sides of the board one in place from the VC firm one from the founder, both suspicious of the other causing the their agendas to superceede the good of the company or in this case country.The only way to fix it a strong CEO who says what he means and does what he says creating a positive effect on the eployees or in this case the people.Unfortunatelty Obama has lost his ability to reach through the house or senate to the people. Obama over promised and is under delivering, therefore the agendas are taking over.

    1. fredwilson

      i think you are right. he needs a CEO coach. Jerry Colonna would be honored to work with him i am sure.

  5. Aaron J. Ruckman

    It was a great event. That UK style Q&A with the head of state should be institutionalized in our system. However, I’d like to see the extreme deference paid to all presidents of both parties dropped. The executive branch is coequal with the legislative and judicial branches – we don’t have a king.

    1. fredwilson

      the parliamentary system has many advantages over our system. our system has many advantages over the parliamentary system. both work but are flawed. i agree that we could use more Q&A with the head of state.

      1. Michael Lewkowitz

        it’s not just about the system – it’s the culture. We have a parliamentary system in Canada and our question periods have turned into partisan sniping. The culture has undermined the system so far that the Prime Minister – the leader of the party that won about a third of the seats – is now arrogant enough to actually close parliament to avoid discussion. gives a snapshot of what happened and Canadians finally rising up to protest.The system in the US may not reflect the open, intelligent and constructive type of democracy you want, but at least you have a leader who is genuinely taking a stand that that’s what is needed. That’s the hope that I think he inspired and hopefully the campaign that people will pick up and push.If not… maybe we could borrow him here in Canada? 🙂

  6. sigmaalgebra

    Fred,Politics is not my main area of expertise, but I would be an irresponsible and foolish company founder to ignore it.So, you noted:”Both sides have very valid points of view in my opinion. And what I’d like to see is less posturing, less staking out positions, and real debate, dialog, and compromise. I don’t know if any of that is achievable but yesterday’s discussion in Baltimore sure gives me hope.”You want to see some contact with reality? Don’t blame you.Now we have a good ‘case study’: (1) Obama and his AG kept talking about a really fun Khalid abu Fatwah al Jihad bin Boom Boom show running for some years in Lower Manhattan (LM), that is, instead of just tying him to a post, blindfolded, in Gitmo and saying “Ready, aim, FIRE!”. (2) Somehow Bloomberg asked Kelly for a report with a ‘reality check’. (3) Kelly outlined huge blockages of business activities in LM for years and $200+ million a year. (4) Bloomberg, Schumer, etc. in public concluded WTF. (5) Obama and his AG have to find new children’s fantasy games to play somewhere else.Lesson 1: It never was real. The newsies got a LOT of eyeballs for ads. Various suckers wasted their time paying attention. When it started to get real, some adults took over and stopped it.Lesson 2: Lesson 1 is a special case of a general situation.I already concluded that about all we’ve seen new (where Bernanke, Geithner, Summers, Gates, Panetta are old) from the White House is such children’s fantasy nonsense. Hopefully we can get to 1/2013 without needing adults in the Oval Office.Just what is it about first grade playground games missing you would expect to see?Don’t expect those children to grow up soon.Yesterday in Bal’more changed nothing. Or, “talk is cheap”. Or, remember the first grade playground.Quietly some adults in Congress have decided to cancel the White House credit card.Ah, “checks and balances” — they were bright guys, thankfully.

    1. im2b_dl

      dude anybody who think Obama WANTED a long drawn out trial on an issue most Americans hate… I don’t even know what to say.. the logic just ain’t there. The decision for a trial anywhere right or wrong is a page out of the Boston massacre and John Adams’ speech at the second continental congress..that sealed the deal why we became a country in the first place.and those “adults” cancelling the Keynesian credit card…where were they when the first credit card collection companies started calling and the bank was at the door with the foreclosure sign…over the last decade and we had to take out more credit cards to buy the stuff to get to work to pay for the first one? based off the same economic plans/philosophies that helped us in our history to get out of those situations.(and yes even Reagan’s military spending was Keynesian)just askin?

      1. sigmaalgebra

        im2b_dl:You wrote:”anybody who think Obama WANTED a long drawn out trial on an issue most Americans hate… I don’t even know what to say.. the logic just ain’t there.”Let’s see: Behind door (1) we have a blindfold (I’ll offer to pay for it) and a $5 bullet for someone caught out of uniform making war on the US. Behind door (2) we shutdown business in Lower Manhattan for some years, spend maybe $500 million in police, get a long running, Khalid bin Boom Boom show, show that the US has the highest regard for the US Article III legal rights of international Jihaders who make war on the US, and take the big risk of having him acquitted on some legal technicality. Seems like a tough decision?If you don’t care about the $499,999,995, then I’ll take it. Maybe Blankfein will give me a ‘bonus’ for letting him continue to get to work for the next few years!Of COURSE “the logic just ain’t there”. For “what to say”, have to reject the hypothesis that the Oval Office has adults addressing reality. The alternative that fits the data well is first grade playground fantasy nonsense. The newsies like it — lots of cheap eyeball bait.Surprised? In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve; or, we elected him. His qualifications were two sentences, each with one word, each with one syllable. Want to take as long as Charlie Brown to see are being fed fantasy nonsense? Or, to paraphrase,”I’ve been in politics, state and Senate, and I’m excited about hope and change. Here are my accomplishments …, and I’m running for President.” Hmm ….Or maybe it was something about guilt, transgression, retribution, and redemption? Equally silly.We can observe: Propose something way off the top of the scales of totally dumb and then get a lot of extra time as many people struggle to accept that it really could be so dumb since, of course, “I don’t even know what to say.. the logic just ain’t there.” and fear that somehow they are missing something because no adult addressing reality would ever propose something that seems so dumb. It IS that dumb. What is it about dumb you are having trouble understanding? Of course, once adults point out that it’s so dumb, then, claiming great magnanimity, flexibility, maturity, compromise, political acumen, statesmanship, etc., say “Never mind”. You see this as an especially complicated manipulation? Uh, in grades 1-6, girls are better at manipulations than boys, and girls in 1-6 commonly do much more advanced manipulations. The Oval Office can do some manipulations as advanced as first grade girls.The Khalid show was just an anomaly, right? I mean, no adult addressing reality would ever propose more than one thing so dumb, right? Right, not such an adult. But a child? How about deliberately destroying half of our electric generating capacity? That’s more than Khalid even hoped for. But, it’s right there, deliberately “bankrupt” all our coal plants…And, we elected him, with that statement right there on YouTUBE.The manipulative excuse, if you choose to swallow it, is to “fight climate change” which by some of its most important leaders is admitted to be fantasy nonsense having nothing to do with the real climate. E.g., see the quote from Michael Hulme with”can serve many of our psychological, ethical, and spiritual needs.””We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilize them in support of our projects.””These myths transcend the scientific categories of ‘true’ and ‘false'”.and a confession of nonsense about melting glaciers in…It’s nonsense, made-up, flim-flam, fraud, scam, about human “sin and corruption” out of ‘The Music Man’, nonsense.Or take over 20% of our economy, that determines life or death for many of us, with a commissar, “The Commissioner” (start reading at page 40 of HR 3200).It’ll continue until we vote it out.Remember playground gangs? The credit card is the pre-paid one the Oval Office children have been using to buy toys for their playground gang members. Congress is saying, no more pre-paid credit cards for children.For “the Keynesian credit card” and what Bernanke is doing to get the banking system going again (we NEED a banking system), that can be different. Summers and Bernanke are adults, with serious accomplishments, and we should take seriously what they say.Enough time on the playground antics and fantasies of poorly supervised, unattractive children.

        1. im2b_dl

          what I know…since I have met the man (on several occasions over the two years he was running)…is he is very smart, thoughtful and doesn’t buy into empty statements…because for the two years he spent coming to NH he was questioned on every issue constantly ..I watched him in living rooms and gymnasiums field questions off the cuff. The reason he was elected was the people who saw all the candidates speak…who saw what Fred sees in the video… is who this guy is. Smart, listens and logic. I saw almost every candidate in living rooms full of people (a plus with living in an academic center of NH)…this guy blew everyone out of the water with his grasp of detail and logic in issues. That is why I laugh when I hear big spin like this. It takes work to think…to hold on to the idea that this guy’s heart isn’t in the right place and that he doesn’t know what he is doing.

          1. JLM

            “…doesn’t buy into empty statements…”Really?”Hope and change””Change we can believe in””Yes we can”He is a walking, talking, sloganeering empty suit. It offends my intelligence to conduct a “prom queen” style election to select the leader of our Nation but just a bit less than my sense of alarm at the intelligent folks who buy into this sheer absolute nonsense.Candidate Obama won the Democratic nomination and Presidential election — deservedly so — because he conjured up a perfect storm and ran a brilliant campaign. Give credit where credit is due. Bravo!His fundraising, communications, social networking and turn out the vote efforts have redefined the standards of excellence in American presidential politics and campaign administration.He was blessed by a historic personal story, a unique positive and compelling racial aspect, an extraordinary staff, a horrificly flawed opponent, an American electorate thirsting for “change” and a discredited administration which put a tailwind at his back.With all of these advantages, Candidate Barack H Obama ran the freakin’ table in an improbable election victory the like of which we may never, ever see again.Unfortunately for us citizens, nothing related to the campaign contributes a whit to the ability to govern the United States of America.

          2. JLM

            “It takes work to think…that he doesn’t know what he is doing.”Or in the alternative just a peak at the healthcare, Gitmo, KSM trial, the Skip Gates ‘beers in the garden’, the continuing ineffective dialogue and impotent deadlines with Iran cult of personality, handwringing and painful Arghan troop level decision-making paralysis and the shameful compromise of his campaign promises pertinent to the transparency of legislative deliberations debacles.With a supermajority in the Congress and a year to legislate, the President has accomplished what? NOTHING? Pretty damn close to nothing?Now that he has tumbled to the notion that creating a few jobs might be a good idea and that the future of our Nation may truly turn on our “gays in the military” policy, I think things are going to be OK.If not, then let’s give a speech!

          3. fredwilson

            that is not true. he and his team dealt with the financial crisis with exactly the amount of firepower that was required. look where our economy is now compared to where it was a year ago. he showed incredible leadership on that and it took him away from his mandate that he got elected on and he’ll never get that back.

          4. matjen

            See Fred you are selling Obama. You’re entitled. You are right. No one is questioning the way his stimulus was designed, how slow it was/is, or what constituencies got whatever money has gone out the door yet. No one questions his job number (the faux “saved” ones and unemployment). The country’s economy is better now than a year ago because he did exactly the right thing. A statement like that is beyond partisan Fred.Note I assume some stimulus was necessary. There are a ton of others who think not. Frankly, I think he just should have had a payroll tax holiday and left it at that. This top down banker welfare combined with slow government projects was about the worst stimulus possible. Better than none though in my book.

          5. fredwilson

            you had to keep the banks afloat, at least the big ones. letting lehman godown was a mistake.we could let one go down now, but not then

          6. ShanaC

            Out of sheer curiosity, why could a lehman go down now but not then. Are we all less afraid now -I’m not so sure.

          7. fredwilson

            right. wall street moves between fear and greed. when fear is at its peak,you have everyone pulling their capital out of everything. lehman going downin that environment is bad. we are in a different place now.

          8. JLM

            TARP was Bush’s deal. Paulson got a trillion dollars on a 3-page write up because everybody was scared.President Obama has an inferior financial team. Hell, they are not smart enough to operate Turbo Tax. HASP, P-PIP, cash for clunkers, housing credits are all pin pricks.The market corrected and the ship turned keel down again.Candidate Obama was clearly the “cool” guy among him, McCain, Bush — two very, very, very uncool guys — and he got elected Prom King not President. America liked the cool guy. He has no mandate other than his coolness. This is why he personally stays popular though his policies are crappy.America is losing its infatuation with cool. It is not cool to be unemployed and scared.

        2. kidmercury

          thank you for hating on the climate change nonsense. more awareness on that subject is needed.

    2. fredwilson

      the checks and balances work both ways thankfully.

  7. MattCope

    Yes, but…How do you like Boxee’s “Watch Later” solution?

    1. fredwilson

      i absolutely love it. i just wish it worked on more video services. they probably cover 80% of the videos i come across but i’d like 99%

  8. Satish

    If Obama did this as soon as he got elected: when the Dems had 60 votes, I would have agreed with Fred. Reconciling a country is always in the hands of the winner. The winner has the power to take the high road and bring the losers in to the govern with them. And if Obama wanted a post-partisan environment, then he should have preached to the Dems and make them work with the Repubs on policy for the last year. But that is not what happened. The Dems told the Repubs to their face “we have 60 votes, we dont care about your opinion and we will do what we want to do”. They did that until they realized that the 60 Dems votes does not mean that the 60 Dems all will vote for what ever Nancy Pelosi and Harry Ried want.And then they lost the 60th vote and now the power is with the Repubs. If there is any post-partisanship now, it is not because of Obama, but because the Repubs decide to take the high road and work with the Dems on policy. If they dont then they will make sure that the Dems can’t achieve anything and then beat the xxxx out of the Dems in the 2010 elections.If you see Invictus , you will see that when Mandela comes to power, the natives want to make sure that the whites have no say in anything. But Mandela wants to take the high road and make sure that their self respect is preserved. And that is how he united the country.And what did the dems do when they won handily: they took away the self respect of the repubs by telling them that their opinions didnt matter as they had 60 votes. So I feel Obama did nothing to bring a post partisan Washington. Now he is the loser and he is begging the repubs to work with him, because otherwise he will fail.

    1. fredwilson

      all true. but Bush did the same thing to the Dems. watching them fight is like watching my kids fight. terribly frustrating but hard to find blame other than all of them.

      1. Satish

        My problem is that, Obama said he was better than this. Obama was elected instead of Hillary because he said he was not the same old politician as Hillary & Bill :). If this is how Obama is going to govern, would Hilary have been a better LBJ type president who was a master of the legislative process and got things done.The bottom line is that the US needs either a Mandela / Gandhi type leader to emerge from either the Dems of Repub who brings the country together or we need a real third part to emerge.Obama had the opportunity to be that and he blew it. I’m not sure if he will get that chance again. it was a once in a lifetime thing. 🙂

        1. fredwilson

          i don’t know about that. Clinton was at a worse place than Obama after hishealthcare plan blew up and he lost control of congress in the midtermelections. he ended up getting re-elected, balancing the budget, creating ahuge budget surplus, ending welfare as we knew it, and doing many other goodthings

          1. Satish

            I agree with what you said about clinton. But Clinton never was able to unite the country. :)Obama might end up having economic success. But I’m not sure he will have the opportunity to unite the country. Because now he is viewed as a divisive president because he did not speak up against the dems for the last year’s bad behavior until now.I hope he does though. When i came to the US i expected much more from the political system here and I’m very much disappointed by the way the country is broken up by the liberal left and the religious right. :)I hope it changes.

          2. fredwilson

            uniting the country is an impossible task except in times of war

          3. JLM

            Gallows humor, sorry.Well luckily we have no shortage of wars right now!

      2. matjen

        You know Fred there is a basic math issue here that just can’t be ignored. Obama has had some legislative failures and the fall back posture which you are buying (or are you selling here) is that Republicans and Democrats are squabbling, what a shame, etc. The math is the math and the Democrats were in complete control and could pass WHATEVER they wanted if they could control their own caucus. Obama/Pelosi/Reid couldn’t control the Dems and this is where we are. This has nothing to do with Republicans. No modern Republican has ever had that type of majority so comparing Bush to Obama isn’t really fair.

        1. fredwilson

          i’m not ‘selling’ anythingthe only thing they failed to pass that i am aware of is health care. and health care is the single most complicated domestic issue and has proven to be impossible for many presidents.what other legislative failures are you talking about?

          1. matjen

            I’m speaking of the absolute centerpieces of Obama’s agenda. Health Care and Cap and Trade. Again, what is hard for most Presidents really isn’t the issue. The issue is how effectively his team handles the situation they have. In this case they had a super-majority (something that has only happened for 14 years in our history I think). Even with that they came up short.They have failed for the time being. They haven’t failed because of Republican and Democratic squabbling. They have failed due solely to Democratic squabbling and the blatant deals they cut each other and favored constituencies.The people reacted and are continuing to react to what the Democrats did with their supermajority. The objection isn’t to discord and obstruction. The objection is to the rule of a single party rule that has seen fit to ram through policies people don’t want.By pitching (or buying into) the “we have to change Washington line” you’re telling the Republicans to be more acquiescent, right when they are well-positioned to win elections in the fall. And isn’t that what the people want, a better balance of conservatives and liberals in Congress? And isn’t that the way to get to real bipartisanship, with a second party that has some voting power?

          2. fredwilson

            let’s have this conversation after novemberit may be true that obama is not a great leaderbut he’s a hell of a politician

          3. matjen

            I’ll look forward to it. I know you/we are hoping he can pull a Clinton and be more productive. I must highlight your “but he’s a hell of a politician” line and remind you that Obama had never even been through a contested election until this presidential cycle. Simply amazing actually. We elect someone who has never run or led anything and has never actually had to be much of a politician…until this past year. Should we be surprised by his results so far? Methinks not. Still early though.

          4. fredwilson

            Michael Jordan didn’t play basketball at a high level until he was in high school. Some people are just born to do something. I think obama has those kind of political skillsI’m not a fan of his approach to health care though I am a fan of the goalThere are better ideas out there than the ones he’s adopted.But I don’t think there is a national politician who comes close to his political gifts (other than bill clinton and he’s done his time in the white house)

          5. matjen

            Good lord Fred. At some point you need to acknowledge reality. Just as I acknowledge that it is still early and FAR from over, there needs to be some actual basis or proof for the opinion that his political gifts are actually anything other than nonexistent at this stage. He can give a good speech but he needs to actually accomplish something. He has had a poor first year as measured by any type of objective standard (i.e. polling, elections, legislative agenda, etc.). Throw in things like Gitmo, Xmas bomber, NYC terror trial, etc. and you have bad juju.I’m a Chicagoan so I find the Jordan analogy intriguing and it gives me an opening to bring up another childish pet peeve of mine. I belong to Obama’s health club. This whole basketball thing is a joke. It may be the greatest conspiracy since the press refused to show FDR’s legs. He is not a good baller. Just an fyi. Scott Brown would school him. 🙂

          6. fredwilson

            did you watch that Q&A video I posted? that is full of his political gifts. they are not nonexistent. they were on full display on friday in baltimore (and during his time in the booth during the georgetown thumping of Duke yesterday). the man is good.

          7. JLM

            Who was the only person to routinely hold Michael Jordan to less than 20 points?Dean SmithIt’s NOT just the talent, it’s also the system in which the talent is deployed.President Obama’s political skills are not nearly as important as his leadership skills. Right now his leadership skills are supremely important.Getting elected and governing are two different endeavors. Getting elected is a set of competitive skills. Governing requires a set of collaborative skills.Michael Jordan, arguably the best athlete in the history of sport, wanted to be a great baseball player but alas, he could not hit a curve ball. The skills have to fit the game.Right now being a policy wonk is not the requisite skill. Leadership is playing trump right now.

          8. matjen

            Jordan couldn’t run a team either. Fred needs to pick a better analogy. 😉

          9. fredwilson

            he can’t coach, but he was a great floor leader. six NBA championships.

  9. kidmercury

    barack obama archive.both parties are broken. please wake up and educate yourself so you realize the obviousness of this. the more people operate from a left vs right paradigm, the more blind they will be to realizing that both options are broken, and something new is needed.all solutions begin with the truth. expect things to continue deteriorating until that is recognized.9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. fredwilson

      i’m not giving up on what we’ve got yet

      1. kidmercury

        lol, you have too much money, that’s why 😀 the system benefits you more than many others. certainly not the lower and middle classes (the distinction will soon disappear) that’s been robbed the past ten years through preposterous inflation.though don’t misinterpret that to mean hatin’ on wealth or wealthy people. i ain’t trying to hate on a future version of myself!

        1. fredwilson

          i never take it as hatingi understand the point you are making

        2. Guest

          Kid,you are not being fair. Wages kept up with inflation during Clinton, it is during GWB when the middle class got destroyed. Putting equal blame on Dems and GOP is not fair.A more interesting question (and more relevant to this community) is “why”? Was Clinton some kind of a Labor/Proletariat defender? Hardly. Labor was weakened in the 90s. The answer is pretty simple: Clinton’s regime helped innovation and Bush’s regime destroyed innovation.If you look at the data, manufacturing jobs were being destroyed (moving to Asia) at a more or less constant pace over the past 20 yrs. Yet, in the Clinton era such losses were fully offset by jobs growth in other sectors and most importantly, the innovation sector; while during the Bush regime job creation was anemic and concentrated in the non-sustainable housing sector.I happen to agree with Friedman and others who suggest that the loss of manufacturing to China should not have been a big deal. China was moving from agrarian economy to industrial economy, something that USA had already gone through. It was time for America to find the next, post-industrial plateau. Yet, Bush and GOP screwed up everything in two major ways.The first way was the glorification of ignorance and demonization of the “educated class” and science. The effect of that was debilitating on people in the heartland who were being laid off from the manufacturing sector. Instead of going back to school to learn new thingsm – skills for the innovation economy to become technicians, medical technologists, etc. – they found it justified to sit around “cling to guns and religion”, feel screwed by the “educated elites” on the Coasts, while ridiculing science, evolution, climate change.The second way the Bush regime screwed the middle class was by allowing the financial system to be perverted by “privatization of profits, socialization of losses”. Young, talented people found it more profitable to become financial managers of other people’s money, rather than become innovators. Thus the economy had to support the wealth of this parasitic class, which created no tangible economic value.Now there is a lot of talk about restoring the old manufacturing base to support the middle class; I don’t see how this train is coming back. On a structural level, imagine if all of the country’s resources were mobilized to build new energy infrastructure or new medical breakthroughs: tha’s where the country should go. Bush/GOP screwed up, its not the Dems fault.

          1. kidmercury

            hey krassen,thanks for your thoughtful reply. a couple points:1. no doubt the bush presidency was a disaster. but is your argument “the dems are better than bush”? lol, i need more than that. imagine if you were in the market to buy a house. let’s say the first house you saw was absolutely terrible: dangerous neighborhood, poor construction, overpriced, etc. now let’s say the second house you saw was also quite terrible, but maybe a little bit better than the first house you saw. is that sufficient justification to buy the house? or would you keep looking, demanding something that is going to help you and your family live the life you want? i think the analogy applies to politics. yes, clinton is better than bush. but they both suck, and we need better.2. you are focusing on comparing presidents. that in my opinion is another problem in the USA — too much focus on presidents. what about congress? they certainly didn’t do much to stop bush from starting wars based on lies. and congress was all to willing to pass unconstitutional laws that have hurt checks and balances and given the president near dictatorial powers. also, as you may recall, the dems were put in congress in the 2006 election to end the war. and when they got there they…..didn’t. and now obama is looking to expand the war based on lies. looks like the new boss is the same as the old one! :)3. clinton’s innovation and job creation stuff is not as great as it seems. see The Myth of the Clinton Surplus. also, he was aided immensely by the federal reserve’s outrageous monetary policy, which fueled the dot com bubble. this made clinton look good, but every bubble eventually finds its needle. turns out the needle was found after clinton exited and bush entered. so, in many ways, the economic problems that were experienced under bush have their origins during clinton’s tenure. yes, bush is a complete idiot, probably the only people dumber than bush are the fools that voted for him. so that obviously did not help the situation. but, he is not fully responsible for the mess — the clinton administration deserves some blame too. of course, most of the blame goes to the federal reserve, and so the real problem with these presidents is that they don’t address that at all. but, surely, on some level they know if htey did address that problem, they would lose the connections htey need to get elected in the first place. and that is another sign that the system is fundamentally broken, and we need massive systemic overhaul — the kind we cannot get from either party.

          2. ShanaC

            I’ve thought about your first point. Actually, I might buy a semi-crappy house in a semi-crappy neighborhood on the edge of a great neighborhood if I thought the neighborhood would change. I keep thinking this is actually going to happen with on neighborhood I know of on the South side of chicago if there is enough lobbying/chicago-politicking on the South Side for logical changes in Zoning. I really could see that area shoot up in value.It may suck now, but if you work with it in the long run, thing may turn out to be better. You just have to judge judiciously. The question is, did we judge correctly?

          3. kidmercury

            i think you highlighted a limitation in the analogy i gave. if you are buying a crappy house in expectation it will rise in value, you presumably have a timeline in mind that allows for this. presidents have a two term limit, so they better move quickly. doubly so if they are going to be marketed as the messiah who gives us “change.”also, i left three comments on this blog post that got deleted. anyone interested though can see them on my disqus page ( — basically just a bunch of conspiracy links that show how clinton sucked. i don’t know if fred’s dissing me or if disqus is dissing me with the comment deletion, or some other force i don’t know about. maybe it’s a conspiracy!

          4. ShanaC

            No just very aware that change is natural to neighborhoods. I remember whenmy parents used to take me shopping in brooklyn for formal little girldresses (they needed sleeves) and our family car nearly got carjacked. Icould go to some of the same neighborhoods now and they would be full ofhipsters (but the stores where I used to buy little girl dresses would begone…)

          5. Aviah Laor

            good points, however, resigning from manufacturing in the name of progress is harmful:1. Income taxation bias: local manufacturing is over taxed. This is part of the increased cost in local manufacturing. 2. Import tax bias: From the gov income point of view, there is no loss in import: they have import taxes. So employees on the public payroll have initiative to buy foreign goods: it’s cheaper, yet it keeps “their” income. If you are not on the public payroll, the opposite is true. But who sets the policy? those on the public payroll3. Quality costs: Once upon a time a washing machine could work for 10 or 15 years. Now? 3 years? Consuming 5 washing machines in 15 years is an environmental disaster. Same for everything else you throw after a few years. By enforcing environmental friendly products you actually demand higher quality and less disposal. The US will have hard time to compete if the goods are crap, but for quality durable products – maybe not. So unlike common belief, environment friendly policies can actually help to encourage manufacturing and jobs creation.

          6. JLM

            Krassen, you are way smarter than to mouth such simplistic platitudes and nonsense.The Clinton years were influenced more by the real Republican control of the Gingrich Congress — and thus the Nation’s purse strings — than the nominal control of the White House which was completely enmeshed in a failed health care initiative, gays in the military (DADT) policy and Miss Monica Lewinsky — the President’s muse.Throw whatever brickbats you desire at the Bush administration and I will not defend them. I am still looking for the lobotome scars and the idiot who thought that the Iraq War “…would pay for itself.”Nonetheless, I cannot find any credible evidence that George Bush’s foiled initiatives — foiled by Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, et al — to reign in Freddie and Fannie were not only correct but would also have surely dramatically reduced the ultimate impact of the runaway GSEs. Bush was right.To suggest that the Clinton years were the days of “innovation” and the Bush years were the Dark Ages is to disavow the slope of the curve of such things as the level of venture capital investment in the US.The demise of manufacturing in America was accelerated by bad public policy pertaining to jobs but it started when 2BN Chinamen went looking for work.

        3. JLM

          The antipathy to the “rich” in America is good politics. It attracts votes. It is very stupid. Folks envy the rich and that envy allowed to ferment in the right political brine quickly becomes hate. It is literally the organizing mortar of community organization. Saul Alinsky knew what he was talking about.Where this misdirected energy should be redirected is into the desire to become rich.One cross section of Americans in politics want to demonize, penalize and punish the rich as if by doing so, they destroy the “special” privileged status of rich folk and thereby contribute to a social leveling or redistribution of the rich’s special status. Because after all, money may not be able to BUY love, but it can certainly RENT it.What we need is a political establish and a philosophy which provides the road map to the creation of wealth for everybody thereby creating more total wealth. This is both good philosophy and tax policy.Work hard. Make money — gobs of money. Enjoy life. Use your money to do good works. Great works. Empower others to succeed. Pass it on!

          1. fredwilson

            that last paragraph is exactly how i want to be remembered when my time on earth is over

          2. ShanaC

            So put it on some cards. Pass the cards out when you think they’d be meaningful.

          3. matjen

            Wise words JLM. And thanks for picking up on some of my threads/arguments. 🙂

          4. kidmercury

            i agree with what you are saying about the foolishness of demonizing wealth. but, the middle and lower classes are frustrated. we’ve literally been robbed for the past ten years. and what are the rich folks doing? voting for bush’s tax cuts, or supporting obama’s bailouts, and putting up with all these fraudulent wars (after all what do they care? these days only poor people enlist anyway!). of course the poor people are doing all this stupid stuff too, so they’re definitely responsible for their own poverty. and i understand that many people — probably most people, regardless of their social class — have honest intentions; those who supported bush and his sequel obama probably think they are doing the right thing. i am growing increasingly unsympathetic, though. their ignorance translates into my purchasing power being diminished.i think the one belief i have, which is perhaps debatable and a bit controversial, is that the wealthier members of society have a greater obligation to do the right thing and to ensure that the future is bright for all. basically, i think wealthier folks have an obligation to be leaders, because they are naturally positioned to be so. so when we as a society are clearly going in the wrong direction, i kinda hold the wealthier folks more accountable (though I emphasize that all have some obligation to the society they are a part of, regardless of their social class, and that those who do nothing to help themselves and create the world they want deserve no help and have no right to complain).instead, though, when i go to 9/11 truth street actions, it’s not exactly a millionaire’s club. it’s kids whose minds are still somewhat malleable (and thus there are fewer psychological barriers they need to overcome), weirdos who are on the fringe of society (that’s me! :D), people that have a personal connection of sorts (i.e. lost a loved one in 9/11, in iraq, etc), and a particular brand of deeply religious/spiritual larger concern is that as wealth gets more and more stratified, the stage gets set for class warfare. this benefits no one (aside from government, who can always jump in — “for the good of the people,” of course). but if everyone just sits around and puts up with it, well then i guess we get what we deserve.

          5. JLM

            You raise an enormous number of very interesting and worthy points. We need an America which provides the opportunity to become a 5th Columnist — an infiltrator.At my core I have never ceased to be a poor person. I know it. I acknowledge it. I revel in it. When I walk into my country clubs and they greet me, they don’t even know who I am and it makes me chuckle. I keep the secret to myself while infiltrating their ranks.I am in their presence physically and I may even look like the next guy but intellectually, I am eating their children, ransacking their homes and ravaging their wives (a bit over dramatic but you get the drift). Because, in general, I am not from their clan.Why?Because almost all wealth is the accident of birth (certainly not my case) or sheer luck. Count me among the luckiest — an Ash Wednesday baby. Oh, sure, there is a bit more luck in the air at 6:00 AM but I am just a plodder who will get up a bit earlier than you, stay a bit later and work a bit harder. I will eat from your chili bowl while you sleep and I will drink your whiskey while you play.That is the attitude that we need to foster in America. Anybody can multiply their talents and create wealth if they are willing to work hard and take a few risks.The greatest wealth I enjoy is the knowledge that I have depended upon no man to fill my cup or to feed me but that given a chance I have killed and eaten what I have desired. The ultimate freedom is to know that no man owns your labor, your soul is not mortaged or hypothecated and that you are beholden to no man.The wealthy have an obligation to pass it on, to share the secrets of making one’s way in the world, to annoint the skillful and promising youth in the secrets of beating the world into submission and to ensure that your karma is not diminished by ever thinking that you have deserved or are entitled to the good fortune that has rained down upon you. Do not tempt fate, she is a humorless bitch.In the end, we all must be true to our clans and the poor who become rich must remain forever a part of that upward spiral propelling their clansmen along the same path that fortune has cleared for them.We are not giving back, we are not paying forward — we are settling our own accounts with life, fortune and fate.If one cannot feel that obligaiton in every beat of their heart, then they are as bankrupt as the poorest man. The greatest wealth we will ever command is the means to help our fellow man.

  10. Michal Migurski

    There are two specific things about the Q&A that I thought were memorable.One was his response to Mike Pence about GOP ideas for health care and stimulus, essentially saying “we read all your bills, we incorporate the ideas we think are good, but the bottom line is that the whole package has to actually work.” This explicit focus on outcomes and even wonkishness is incredibly strong, because it refocuses the discussion on the actual features of legislation rather than simply who sponsors it.The other specific thing was his response to Marsha Blackburn, where he shows how the GOP’s demonize-Obama tactics actually end up hurting them: “many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You’ve given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, ‘This guy’s doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.'”So when I read this thread, and people say things like “well, on balance, both parties are the problem,” I feel like you haven’t actually watched the Q&A video. What it shows is much of the GOP is heavily investing in non-solutions for tactical reasons, and that’s why Obama comes out of this debate smelling like roses. I’ve heard that GOP functionaries have concluded that it was a mistake to let the TV cameras in, which is insane. There should be more of this kind of policy debate, conducted in person and in public, rather than less.

    1. fredwilson

      that reply to Marsha was also my favorite part of the Q&Abut i don’t agree that the GOP should be taking all the blameanother comment in this thread talks about what Mandela did when he waselected and the opportunity Obama had to do the same.there’s plenty of blame to go around unfortunately

  11. Tom Labus

    This fully visible approach should also apply to when legislation is being torn apart by certain lobbyists. The health care “debate’ devolved into some weird take and run deal. If all the process was open maybe these guys would actually be shammed into working.

  12. Dan T

    This was much more interesting than the SOTU address. I was encouraged at first to hear what sounded like sincere attempts to cut through the rhetoric, but was ultimately reminded why no substantive progress will be realized. This is what I took away from the video: As long as the leaders are working for their party instead of working for the people, no real progress can be made. As long as the leaders are focused on protecting their jobs instead of the protecting the future our our country, no real progress can be made. I thought our country might have been “broken” enough that people would demand real change. Looks like we need to be more broken still, because the focus remains on protecting political positions and party views. I saw this at our local school board on Tuesday and on this video as well. I have not had any confidence in our government for a long time and don’t have any now. I think I’ll just stay in the rock quarry for now.

  13. Aviah Laor

    I’m not suggesting any conclusion here, but simple stats shows that “AVC people” got x10 attention than Obama.

    1. fredwilson

      surprising because political posts almost always get 300 commentsmaybe people have stopped caring

      1. Aviah Laor

        maybe, but maybe you provide here a sense of involvement and meaning that is lacking there.

        1. CJ

          I’d just rather not discuss politics with people I like, it never ends well. 🙂

          1. kidmercury

            if you think that’s bad, wait till you see what happens when people stop discussing politics with people they like 🙂

          2. Aviah Laor


          3. Aviah Laor

            so you discuss politics with people you don’t like?

      2. ShanaC

        Length of videos, even I zoned out after a while. You’re asking for close to two hours of people’s time.

        1. fredwilson

          yup. very long. i did acknowledge it in the post

        2. Mike

          I agree, but if politics is your thing, then this is something you don’t want to miss. Plus, and let’s be honest, if we have enough time to comment on this blog then I’m guessing we’re all efficient enough to carve out a few minutes here and there, right?It is faster to read the transcript though, but you miss some of the back and forth with the crowd that I would expect will finally kill the meme that Obama needs a teleprompter to speak.

          1. ShanaC

            I think I am in the wrong country to be hyper-involved with politics. Andeven in the right country, I still felt mostly disgust.

  14. Mike

    Fred you wrote:”Both sides have very valid points of view in my opinion. And what I’d like to see is less posturing, less staking out positions, and real debate, dialog, and compromise. I don’t know if any of that is achievable but yesterday’s discussion in Baltimore sure gives me hope.”I hope that this is something we can all agree on. The biggest drawback to yesterday’s Q&A session was IMO that it was filled predominately with talking points. I’ll add that I don’t think the forum was the best setting for this (Q&A gave Obama the upper-hand vs. back and forth debate), but it was at least a good starting point.And in an age where news is increasingly becoming something you consume only from the sources that fit your worldview, its nice to see this kind of interruption marketing campaign (as Seth Godin would say) from the President.Now I wonder who on the right would consider returning the favor?

    1. fredwilson

      they don’t have an “Obama”

      1. JLM

        Hmmm, I wonder if Brothers Deeds and Corzine and Sister Coakley would quibble with that observation?Just kidding.Keep your eye on Tim Pawlenty and the new Governor of Virginia.

        1. Mike

          Obama might be a Democrat, but not all Democrats are like Obama. It’s a venn diagram so to speak.And whatever happened to Jindal? I thought he was the heir apparent. Good call on Bob McDonell though. Anyone who survives the SOTU response unscathed probably has the chops for a national election.

          1. JLM

            President Obama is an extraordinary individual. While one may disagree with his politics and allow that to color one’s view of him personally, he IS the American dream.We should disagree about policy without being disagreeable and we should disagree without being personal. When we catalog the things about which we agree and disagree, if done on that basis, we all agree about a lot more than we think possible and we never really disagree about everything contrary to our initial instincts.Bobby Jindal, a Rhodes Scholar and the youngest current Gov in the US having also served as a US Congressman elected by majorities of 78% and 88%, was the darkest skinned, articulate Republican politician available when Pres Obama made his first speech to a joint session of Congress. LOLWait 10 years and see how Bobby Jindal turns out. He will ultimately be a world beater. He is terminally youthful.

    2. JLM

      Or do you mean, who on the left would magnanimously extend such a generous and constructive invitation as the Republicans did?

      1. Mike

        JLM, as always your intuition is second to none.

  15. Bernardo Rodriguez

    This shows how open and strong is the democracy in the US. Before coming to NYC, I have lived in Latin America for most of my life. From Argentina to Brasil and Venezuela. Probably in the US you are used to it, but it is really unique to have this kind of open and respectful dialogue between the president of a country and the opposing party. Thanks for sharing Fred, I didn’t have the opportunity to see it live.

  16. fredstinks

    Lame blog looser!

    1. kidmercury

      lol wtf

      1. fredwilson

        I’m a looser. Loose money supply??

    2. fredwilson

      Looser or loser?

  17. skir

    thanks for sharing, nice videos.

  18. CitizenWhy

    Republican points were largely talking points, very general. Obama was specific. I think both sides have points on principles, but as Obama pointed out, how do you translate that principle into workable legislation? Obama also specifically pointed out that some of the Republican legislative “solutions” have very little impact or a bad impact on the budget, and are really “show” solutions. The Republican “talking points” are just that, ideology reduced to slogans and dysfunctional in regard to governing.The worst budget problem is Medicare largely due to the Republican law adding a prescription drug benefit. This benefit was added (when the Republicans controlled Congress and the White House) to help the pharma companies, not the Medicare patient. At that time it was obvious that many US institutions and individuals would be ordering much cheaper drugs from Canada. The pharmas and the Republicans tried to smear Canada as have lax manufacturing standards but that argument was considered a joke. So they added a prescription drug benefit AT 100% OF RETAIL PRICE for the drugs instead of negotiating a discount. At that time my liberal friends insisted that this prescription benefit could not possibly work (administratively), and I pointed out that it would be made to work because it was for the benefit of the Republican pharmas.The phamra benefit in Medicare threatens to bankrupt the system, and soon. It is a huge part of the US deficit. As usual the libertarian Republicans supported this benefit because they believe in advancing any spending that will eventually bankrupt the government and, in their juvenile belief, make government unable to spend except for policing, prisons, and war (property protection).Obama briefly alluded to this problem but did not detail it. To be polite to his hosts.

  19. JLM

    The fundamental problem with President Obama is that he speaks AT the American people. He does it well. He is an excellent speaker in a well prepared setting.Like many very intelligent people he starts every speech with the assumption that every person in the audience possesses the same information that he possesses, that his information is comprehensive and that they have reasoned or resisted reasoning to the same conclusions as he has. Supporters — good. Skeptics — bad.He continually makes the monumental error of thinking he knows it all. I would simply ask you to consider the KSM NYC trial as an instance which may illuminate this tendency. Any reasonable man would observe in retrospect that the outcome of moving that trial out of NYC was certainly foreseeable had he engaged with and consulted with many of the highly accessible folks who have now turned this decision on its ear for truly obvious and simple reasons.While he may be personally thoughtful (I actually think not — he is indeed a very, very quick study and I think his immediate command of the facts prevents him from actually mstering the underlying circumstances from whence those facts have flowed), there is very little apparent evidence that he is contemplative by which I mean he converses with folks about what he thinks he knows, what they think they know and what it collectively means.He fails to test his assumptions by engaging in a true dialogue but rather as soon as he divines what he considers to be the right answer, he arrogantly forges ahead without attempting to share or sell his vision as the basis for action.As a narcissist (and I use that word without a whit of pejorative intent, the guy simpy loves the mirror and, face it, the mirror loves him), he is quick to ascribe powers to himself which are neither really helpful nor effective — this “force of personality” business which over a televised beer at a White House picnic table is somehow going to reduce the racial tensions to which he greatly contributed in the Harvard U prof v the Boston cop fiasco and the direct negotiations with Iran. What truly absurd notions.In the end, much of what he struggles with is simply the reality of an inexperienced leader and an inexperienced executive.He has attempted to drink from a firehose and has learned the lesson that is always learned — it cannot be done without a considerable amount of mess. Pace and patience are critical to changing our society. Look at the Gitmo situation as an illustration of what this means.He has failed toprioritize and to make difficult decisions pertinent to marshalling and investing of scarce resources. Look at “gays in the military” in the midst of a very serious economic situation. I would love to have a chat with the speechwriter who suggested including that issue in an already insomnia curing SOTU address as an afterthought. One has to wonder why “male pattern baldness” failed to also make the cut?

    1. fredwilson

      you’d be a great coach for him JLM.

    2. Rick

      “He fails to test his assumptions by engaging in a true dialogue but rather as soon as he divines what he considers to be the right answer, he arrogantly forges ahead without attempting to share or sell his vision as the basis for action.”Sorry wait…talking about Bush or Obama?

      1. JLM

        If a true and fair criticism, why not both?I am an American patriot, an independent thinker and do not feel any necessity to fall into the simplistic group think which suggests that a flaw is judged differently because the perpetrator is a member of one political party or another.I vote for the best man for the job and his party affiliation is an irrelevant consideration. Regardless of whether I voted for him or not, when the contest is joined and concluded the winner is MY President and I would do anything to assist him in succeeding in implementing policies which are good for my fellow Americans.I would never allow another man to impose his label on me and feel compelled to live up to that label.But, I could be wrong.

    3. Morgan Warstler

      JLM,This is of course exactly true. And it speaks volumes about how defective he actually is…. it isn’t a small personality defect. He makes so many amateur errors, that to fail to recognize it, grow, and re-chart his course will place him below Bill Clinton in the eyes of Historians.Things changed for Democrats, slightly with Nixon, and then completely with Reagan… as the winning Republican strategy became obvious – lit like a grow light in a closet.Spend. All. The. Money.The political joke on Keynesian economics is proven by overspending even when, “times are good.” Conservatives now simply deficit spend on military industrial complex, big pharma, any damn thing that doesn’t grant a new a positive right to Democrat base voters… so that when a Democrat actually wins office he can’t buy his voters anything. How many generations of voters have to get excited, vote for change, and get nothing, before they stop dreaming Democracy will provide a free lunch? This will be the 2nd generation… I don’t think it will take more than 3, to prove to America’s underclass there is is limit to what they can vote to get for free. At that point, they’ll either stop voting, or start working. This doesn’t mean there aren’t deserving people, it simply means their way of achieving help isn’t the voting booth.One can almost feel sorry for the Robert Reich’s of the world, who’ve already been to the rodeo, watching history repeat itself… those damn bond vigilantes squeeze the progressive right out of the pol… 4 more years on the big bird is enough like crack to ensure even the biggest commie would hire Paul Volcker to guarantee the mature deficit reduction is real. Let alone Obama who had no clue what his real job is/was…. to cut Medicare, just like Clinton’s real job was to end welfare. There’s actually a weird symmetry to it… perhaps it takes a Democrat to cut social programs in a democracy.

  20. paramendra

    I got excited about the video. http://democracyforum.blogs… Now I realize you also did. I was one of Obama’s earliest supporters in NYC, and got to become friends with the top Obama volunteers in all four boroughs.

  21. William Mougayar

    It’s a shame that a President gets elected according to a given agenda, and there he has to sell it and re-sell all over again. Look how Bush shoved the Iraq war (a bad thing) down our throats, and Obama can’t get healthcare (a good thing) implemented. As if US democracy had become too fragmented and inefficient.On the other hand, we do have a shitty VC system in Canada http://www.wellingtonfund.c…, so no country is perfect.

    1. JLM

      I am not a Bush apologist and I would not quibble that the intelligence leading up to the Iraq War was flawed and wrong. I believe that the intelligence community is responsible for the quality of its work product and if they get it wrong then they should be summarily dismissed. I would have relieved or fired the entire intelligence community chain of command.I would only offer a long term prospective on the Middle East as a region.Germany having averaged about 3.2 wars per century was defeated and converted to a democratic republic. For 65 years they have colored between the lines in Europe while providing a strong economic example to their neighbors and playing an unusual role in the defeat of Communism — the most visible locus of where the scab healed.Japan, having engaged in the greatest act of international perfidy and worldwide aggression, was tranformed into a more peaceful society in great measure by the wisdom of MacArthur in not executing the Emperor after the end of WWII. Japan provided an anchor and example for economic growth and as much democracy (primarily due to MacArthur’s rule) as they were capable of enduring thereby providing a laudable examplar for neighboring nations to engage in international trade and growth.I suspect that when the scar tissue closes over Iraq, the presence of a democracy in the Middle East will become one of the greatest contributions of the United States to peace in that region of the world.This will require the passage of enough time and our pushing the anger and contentiousness of the Iraq War into our subconscious memory. History will ultimately forget about events leading up to the war and will only marvel that a democracy was purchased with American blood and treasure.

      1. William Mougayar

        I didn’t intend for this to degenerate into a geo-political history discussion.My point was that it seems that Obama is having to jump thru a lot more hoops to pass healthcare than Bush did to pass the Iraq war resolution.

  22. Shaan Batra

    Obama is such a brilliant politician. I truly am glad that he is now engaging the Republicans. We obviously did not see this earlier in 2009 primarily because Democrats didn’t think they needed to work with the other side or compromise. It was the party’s own arrogance of power. However, Obama is quickly realizing how important it is to have constructive debate even with those that he may disagree with ideologically. From a political point of view, there is no other way to achieve his agenda. But also, as he rightfully points out, this is what a democracy is all about. I am glad he learned his lesson here and I look forward to a change in the tone of his administration, which originally demonized conservatives and Republicans.

  23. Shaan Batra

    The president was very slick in response to the criticism about transparency. He replied that “much of it was on CSPAN.” I am very offended by this. Though it is a true statement, it is unfortunately very deceiving. The important negotiations and back-room deals with other senators were NOT televised. What WAS televised would have been televised even if we had another president. Obama’s promise was not fulfilled since Congress is ALREADY televised. However, he campaigned by promising TRUE transparency with the underlying premise of really helping the American people see how Washington really works. I really believed in the president, but I am disappointed as I begin to realize he is much more of a strategic, self-interested politician than a true leader.

  24. Prokofy

    No, “post-partisanship” is a leftist shill that basically means “you need to let us be right (correct) and we declare the right not merely a point of view, but uninformed and technologically backward”. It really sucks.Obama definitely lost me when he demanded that we had to stop labelling ideas or people as socialist or communist. Doesn’t he realize that the essence of what socialism of the oppressive type and communist *is all about* is denying the ability of people to express themselves with judgements and labels? And what are we, then, to do about the ideological projects that are indeed socialist or even communist? It really is *disgraceful*.

  25. theschnaz

    “The notion that I would somehow resist doing something that cost half as much but would produce twice as many jobs — why would I resist that? I wouldn’t … It doesn’t make sense if somebody could tell me, ‘You could do this cheaper and get increased results,’ that I wouldn’t say, ‘Great.’ The problem is, I couldn’t find credible economists who would back up the claims that you just made.” #bestquote