Democrats - please explain this to me

I have been bombarded on my facebook page by the typical election heat rhetoric. However, I need to understand how you can get behind this BS. at the most basic level, the claims lately have been about how the last 4 years really haven’t been Obama’s fault. It is the do-nothing republicans clogging up congress.

Ok, now… Can we look at the last 4 years? Obama is elected with a mandate for change. No question about it, he was handed the keys to a car that needed a tune-up, and new tires, and a thousand other things to get it to pass inspection. We get it. That’s why he was elected.

But now that November is approaching, the spin machine is spitting out its usual crap. And I know why it works… Most Americans don’t pay attention to things like the make-up of congress. But for someone that does, how can the Dems blame republicans for Obama’s lack of change? The country is not in better shape than it was 4 years ago. Obama’s 4 years have been pretty unproductive. And IMHO, if the Republicans could send up a better candidalte than Mitt “Joe Isuzu” Romney, the used car salesman for the country, they’d run away with the election. But they didn’t.

As for the rhetoric, how do they, with a straight face say the republicans have been the driving force of a do-nothing congress, when in 2008, democrats had majorities in both houses of congress, and could have, if they had their shit together pushed through just about anything they wanted? When the nation saw that lack of action, they voted democrats out of the house and filled it with republicans. The senate remains in the hands of the democrats. I can see the last two years being more difficult to get legislation through both houses, but whose fault was that?

It amazes me the extent to which the democrats will bend the truth into a pretzel if necessary to get a story out that will appeal to the average voter.

I know republicans are no better, but I haven’t been slammed with their nonsense this week.

To me, Obama had his chance. He had the senate, the house (and the Manson-lamped Pelosi leading the charge), and did nothing of consequence. If he would have been successful, the house wouldn’t have flipped in 2010.

I can see why people hate politics. And that’s just what the people in Washington want. A bunch of idiots that will swallow any sound bite.

The idiots vote again in a few months. We get what we deserve.

You proceed from the false assumption that Obama and the Democrats had complete control of the House and Senate as of 1/20/2009. However, the R’s could, and did gum up the works, stop Obama legislation and his appointments in the Senate through the use of the filibusters.

All they had to do was convince Olympia Snowe to break filibusters. What would make someone like Olympia Snowe turn into an obstructionist? Must have been some pretty awful stuff the Democrats were trying to do to make Olympia Snowe think it had to be stopped.

And then, in late 2009, when the Democrats actually did have complete control, the people of freakin’ Massachusetts sent a Republican to the Senate to put a stop to it.

Democrats love to complain about obstruction, but forget about the pesky context that this obstruction took place in.

Yes, your basic premise is flawed. When the Republicans were vetoing every substantial piece of legislation that Democrats put up, it wasn’t enough to to have a majority, they needed a veto-proof super-majority to even in theory get things through. A super-majority in the Senate (while it was in session) existed for approximately four months in late 2009 and January 2010.

That was still not enough because unlike Republicans, Democrats are not of a single mind, and have conservative members who often vote against the party’s wishes. Also, two of the “60” weren’t Democrats at all, but Independents.

In other words, they never were in the position of being able to impose their will on Congress.

Ah yes, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, Susan Collins. Hardcore right wingers, just like James Inhofe.

Assuming that any passage of legislation thru the senate requires 60 votes, Obama and the democrats held unadulterated control for less than five months, and even then, due to “blue-dog’s”, this majority was not assured.

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/chris-wallace-obama-had-filibuster-proof-senate-majority

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-16/news/ct-oped-0617-zorn-md-20120616_1_minnesota-democrat-al-franken-filibuster-proof-majority-barack-obama

Again, poor excuses. Why were Democratic blue dogs hard to convince to support the party, but Republican moderates stayed with the Republicans?

HInt: the legislation proposed was not only too liberal, but was opposed by the public. That caused all moderates to side with the Republicans to save their hides, leaving liberals all alone to whine about obstruction. An exception was health care, where they threw in some bribes to bring their Senate Blue Dogs into the fold.

Truly sensible and moderate legislation would have won the support of Blue Dogs and moderate Republicans. Democrats chose not to go that route.

When legislation has the support of more than 50 but less than 60, normally it passes. Quite a lot of legislation had 50+. A sane Congress would have gotten a lot done. But the Republicans automatically threatened filibuster on every single thing.

You can’t just shrug and say “Well, if your side had the support, it would have passed.” No other Congress has needed that level of support before.

Again, bad excuses, lack of context. What did the people of Massachusetts do in the face of Democratic legislative plans? They sent a Republican, something that was unthinkable, to put a stop to it.

Republicans obstruct only because the public is behind their obstruction. Republicans TRY to obstruct nearly everything, this is true, but when genuinely popular legislation comes up, Democrats know how to create defections and have done so many times. They failed to do so on their big bills because their big bills were and remain unpopular. Why should Republicans NOT obstruct bills the public doesn’t like?

Of course, the Democrats never gave Bush a pass for Democratic obstruction when they controlled the Congress from 2006 on.

I can just imagine if Republicans win all three branches in 2012, and start writing bills to gut the federal government. They’ll lose the moderate Republicans, and won’t get a single Democrat to vote for them if they try. If that happens, we won’t hear wailing about ‘obstructionism’ any more - we’ll hear the old line about how ‘dissent is the highest form of patriotism’, and the minority in Congress will be lauded as the brave protectors of the public sector.

It’s all about who’s ox is being gored, and whether you can construct a narrative just plausible enough to blame the other side and which will hold up to the limited scrutiny of the people who don’t pay much attention anyway.

So from a Democrat’s standpoint, Bush is responsible for everything bad that happened in his term, but Obama is responsible for nothing bad that happened during his. Congress is obstructionist if it gets in the way of Democrat policies, but acting as a necessary check to executive overreach if it stops Republican policies. The filibuster is a horrible thing when used against Democrats, but a time-honored tool when used against Republicans.

And from the Republican standpoint, just flip the words ‘Democrat’ and ‘Republican’ in the above paragraph.

I’m not a democrat- more of an independant. But you state that the country is not better off than it was four years ago.

I guess you don’t remember the fall of 2008 all that well. Country is MUCH better off today. And my 401Ks.

The Democrats actually disagree:

That probably explains why the House has an approval rating of ~10%. Don’t communists actually poll better than that?

Not “Democrats”, but a democratic governor. From the above link:

Bolding mine.

Congress isn’t the issue. Republicans are. And even in Massachusetts, they felt a Republican was necessary.

That would not have happened if Democrats were doing things the people of Massachusetts could support. That’s not a high bar for Democrats to reach either.

And the campaign won’t even answer the question. Thus, “Democrats”. And the head of the DGA presumably speaks for Democratic governors unless he says otherwise.

My Sincerest apologies. It was damn sloppy of me not to provide the link for my final quote of my previous post!

Why does one senator from Massachusetts justify such obstruction? Most of the current senators are Democrats, and they had to earn the votes of their constituents just as much as Scott Brown did. Don’t the votes of those people count for anything in you view? “Why should Republicans NOT obstruct bills the public doesn’t like?” you say. Through the rather convoluted way that the Senate is elected, most of “the public” do want those policies.

To the OP, I think it’s worth noting the actual record of Obama’s accomplishments:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/

By that, it looks like he has actually made an attempt to do everything he promised except 2 (out of over 500), and if you add together his successes and compromises, he has achieved 51% of his goals with, potentially, a few more to come.

If it seems like not much has changed, it’s probably because most of his promises for change, if you looked at the actual list of proposed changes, weren’t too exciting.

The Democrats shouldn’t need a super-majority to win, just a majority, and that’s not something that we are only realizing now, it’s something that everyone knew and stated every day back then.

A president generally has enough things to do, leading the nation, to leave controlling his party up to others. But if a disorganized party is the main thing keeping you from leading the nation, you should be taking control of the party. Obama could have lead the way to kill the filibuster, but he didn’t. He could have rallied the average American to take up arms and vote out politicians who abuse the rules, but he didn’t. He could have rallied for some set of reform that makes intimidation tactics by party leads a crime, but he didn’t. It’s also likely that all he or anyone had to do at the time was to call the Republicans on their filibuster bluff. Make them actually get up and talk for 24 hours once or twice and they’ll lose their steam pretty fast.

The reason that we have an Executive Branch is because for many things you need a single person to lead the way, where committees get bogged down and confused. Having a pre-set list of wants is all well and fine, but a great leader should be able to work in real-time.

You’re missing the point. The special election in Massachusetts was the only referendum on Democrats’ performance that we had, and it was fought on the most favorable ground possible for Democrats. The fact that they lost there shows they would have lost anywhere else too. The public elected Republicans to stop the Democrats, and when they had the chance to elect 80 more, they did so.

Good Democratic bills will normally attract some GOP defectors. If Democratic bills were not only failing to draw in Snowe and Collins, but also failed to win support from Ben Nelson, then the Democrats were doing it wrong. A bill that is only supported by liberal politicians is not even an attempt at bipartisanship.