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The Steamroller

The Steamroller

While he puts the usual liberal spin on it, Greg Sargent at WaPo is correct that Obama sees his path forward as overwhelming Republicans.  Sargent writes:

Yesterday, President Obama used his Inaugural Address to lay out an expansive case for progressive governance, one rooted in the country’s founding, history and identity, vowing action on everything from climate change to immigration to voting reform to gun control to expanded civil rights for women and gays.

What knits all these specifics together, however, is the speech’s implicit recognition that in order to accomplish any of these goals, he will have to defeat the opposition, rather than win it over. Indeed, one of the most significant things that happened yesterday is that Obama signaled recognition of the true nature of the implacable opposition he faced during his first term and will inevitably face for the duration of his second one. This means a second term in which Obama, rather than forever chase after the illusory notion that he can secure bipartisan cooperation through outreach and charm — not to mention adopting Republican ideas outright — will resort more directly to executive actions and to mobilizing the public to force cooperation wherever possible.

I disagree as to the cause and history.  Obama only has engaged Republicans begrudgingly and only when some small bones needed to be thrown in order to achieve near total victory.

Remember Obama’s infamous statment “I won” when Republicans tried to have input on the Stimulus Plan?  That attitude, at the start of his first term, carried through on virtually everything.

But I largely agree that the next four years will be Obama trying to steamroll Republicans and Republicans trying not to be steamrolled.


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It’s not just the Republicans. Don’t fall into that trap. There is a large segment of the Democratic electorate that recognizes the need for fiscal responsibility, and some of them even read and count.

I believe the key may be to get very specific on specific proposals. Be the party of inconvenient facts and details, and very pointed amendments.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Valerie. | January 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    All of that and block….block….block…block. Frustrate the bastard, annoy him, ignore him and keep pushing forward. Pretend like he’s mot there.

    States should initiate and pass legislation to thwart anything he wants to do to the greatest extent possible.

    The House needs to run this. Boehner needs to find a spine under his tears and quit thinking he can negotiate with them. EVERY time we negotiate, we lose more ground.

    Just stop the madness, stop talking to them, just press forward, even though the senate won’t pass anything coming out of the House that isn’t a disadvantage to conservatives. That’s exactly what the ‘rats did when they had control of the House and it worked for them even during the two years Pelosi was speaker before obastard got elected.

    The House COULD, if it would just find a spine, make this SOB a lame duck right now and for the next four years.

    They need to start by widely and loudly broadcasting the fact the EOs only impact departments and people directly controlled by the executive branch, not the entire population – not even close – and that the type and attempted reach of these EOs are manifestations of a tyrant who respects nothing about constitutional law.

“…to lay out an expansive case for progressive governance, one rooted in the country’s founding, history and identity…”

That, right there, is a complete lie. There is no way to justify “progressive governance” consistent with out founding, most of our history (see administration, Wilson) or identity.

Obama and Sargent…all the Collective know this. This is why they have to lie to people about their intentions and motives.

    Agreed. Our youth will likewise be steamrollered into believing that Obama speaks the truth. Here in a California middle-school the “history” class students would get extra credit for watching obama’s inaugural speech yesterday.
    We will be sorely tested these next 4 year.

All of Obama’s rhetoric is consistent with what is called the Fair Shares society. His “You didn’t build that” remark and education policies are consistent with the inherent assault on the legitimacy of the Western concept of Individualism that is the key component of this view.

It rejects the idea “I think therefore I am” and substitutes “I am because we are” as the embodiment of the beliefs education should be instilling.

It sees freedom as “found not in autonomy but in embeddedness. To be free is to have access to many different relationships…It is inclusivity that brings security–belonging, not belongings.”

That definition of freedom has been used both by education profs and the Regional Equity Movement. REM was behind the Building One America conference.

Fair Shares is also why Obama wanted Goodwin Liu as a federal appellate court judge. lays out how to use education to essentially nullify the historical meaning of the Constitution using a unique reconceptualization of what it means to be a citizen under the 14th Amendment. It is based on a Yale Law Journal article Liu wrote in 2006.

It’s going to be quite a second term for those of us who know our history. And who cherish the seeds of all our past prosperity.

So far, all I’ve seen from the establishment GOP (Boehner, Romney, Cantor, et al) is willingness to throw themselves under the steamroller and stay there.

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to Uncle Samuel. | January 22, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Barry doesn’t even need to bring out the steamroller for them. He is like the parent who gets the kids in line with only the “steamroller” look, and they cave like a house of cards.

    Last night as I was walking the dog I was listening to Hugh Hewitt interview Bill Kristol. They were confident that everything was hunky dory because Barry wouldn’t be able to get anything through congress. They are such fools…foisting Mitt and his consultant-driven campaign on us—one that got us to where we are today. I desperately tried to tune in Mark Levin on WJR in Detroit, which on clear, frigid nights blasts all the way to Chicago. No go; and Hannity was preempted by basketball. I ended up yanking the headphones out if the radio.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Uncle Samuel. | January 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Don’t omit Mr Earnest Backstabber aka Ryan.

Let’s not play Obama’s game. Let’s regroup as Libertarians and go for the throat.

Noblesse Oblige | January 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

I doubt very much whether Obama will accomplish much of his agenda. However what will happen is continued economic stagnation (at best), rising debt, rising malaise, and continuing decline relative to vigorous developing countries — as we hurtle toward some as yet undefined singularity. We need to promote our ideas and agenda until the real showdown comes. Recall Milton Friedman: “Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable”

    9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to Noblesse Oblige. | January 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

    The real or perceived crisis is Barry’s M.O. Look how he demagogued Newtown. Watch for him to use the metastasizing regulatory apparatus of the Federal government just like he has with Catholics and Obamacare.

    Noblesse: My view of what obama wants suggests to me an inconsistency between your first and second sentences. In my view the horrors that you listed in your second sentence are among obama’s goals.

Republicans trying not to be steamrolled.

you will have a few conservatives trying not to be steamrolled but the majority of the Republicans will go along to get along.
these conservatives will then be ostracized unless we can bolster their ranks.

    thst should have said:
    respectfully I think you are wrong.

    I copy and pasted and must have cut off sentence and did not notice, sorry if that sounded rude.

I am not worried about BO steamrolling the REPUBLICANS.


1. BO is a horrible manager of people.
2. BO has zero political skills — not familiar with political “this for that” . He is an idealouge, not a pol.
3. BO cannot develop or implement a cohesive strategy
4. BO never understood, and will never understand, that by allowing for small compromises toward the REPs, he not only allows the opposition some dignity, he INCREASES HIS OWN POWER by defanging the opposition.
5. The Second Inauguaration of BO is BO’s highwater mark. Moochelle’s inaugural wig with bangs shows what is important to the OBAMAs. Down hill from here.
6. The more BO struts, the more he trash talks, then you know that his overconfidence is taking over and BO will, accordingly, overplay his hand (see 2008-2010)

However, while I do not worry about BO, I do worry about BOehner.

    casualobserver in reply to george. | January 22, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I would argue BO has overcome your #2, given his record so far after the election. He certainly came out WAY ahead politically on the so-called fiscal cliff ‘negotiations’.

      huh? I disagree. Winning and why you won are very different propositions.

      Also, the fiscal cliff is more of a Boehner fail than anything else.

        casualobserver in reply to george. | January 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

        I don’t understand your view. You appear to agree Obama won politically by you don’t think it was due to his administrations’ political strategy? Odd. Any winning strategy relies equally on out negotiating the other side, or a ‘fail’ of their negotiating in your words. Do you think some football or baseball games are NOT a win by a team but only a loss (fail) by the other? Winning your goal is still winning even if your opponent doesn’t play at your level.

          BO ‘won’ by default. Boehner decided to keep his powder dry and did not really fight. BO won’t be able to use this non-strategy again. It was just a fluke.

          I also see Boehner’s tactics as a fail, but not a fail due to the brillance of team BO. I think Boehner should engage the bully BO and knock him down a few pegs. If Boehner can’t convince the American people that cuts in spending are needed, we need new leadership (and, that is, in fact, the case; new Republcan leadership is needed that is socially moderate and focused like a laser on excessive debt)

          correction: it was not really a win for BO either. He got taxes bumped on those making of $400k and a bump in capital gains. Not a real solid victory. But he made no concessions on spending.. so. meh.

          casualobserver in reply to casualobserver. | January 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

          To george – I think you fully underestimate the political value of getting the House to pass a tax increase WITHOUT any spending cuts and creating a two sided GOP vote. While, it may not be a big deal to those who desperately want the government to get spending under control, it certainly is a big deal to those who already support Obama and quite a few ‘in the middle.’ He got something many Republicans said would never happen. Huge, huge win.

          You don’t have to be able to repeat the same tactics for their first use to be any less victorious. And Obama is already proving in words and now deeds his strategy is to push forward like a defensive tackle.. (not sure if that is a great analogy, or not).

          it was not a victory. It waS A NOTHING

          I am starting to think you are a progressive dem! 🙂

        9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to george. | January 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm

        At this point winning and why he won are immaterial; his fiscal cliff tactic was to state “I get that one for free.” There is no good faith anything with an ideologue.

casualobserver | January 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

From my prospective Obama pretty much verbalized what most suspected and many in the DC Beltway chattering class already knew. In his view his second term gives him the opportunity to set a purely progressive agenda and to bypass anyone who opposes it (not just the GOP) by using as much executive power as he can get away with.

And his tactic to cause the House GOP to divide and ultimately to crash and burn – the only way the Dems could leverage a switch in 2014 – I think is secondary to him. After all, it isn’t guaranteed to work. But in the mean time, I read his ‘inner circle’ has and is tightening more than ever. Add to that the statement from some aide to him that the his opponents and our legislative structure does NOT do justice to someone of such greatness (Obama), and you see the mindset for Obama 2.0.

In other words, you might think the attitude to be, “In order for his greatness to succeed, his office cannot wast its time with anyone who opposes his agenda nor with the details of governance.”

Oh. Oh, well.

For a second there I thought somebody was actually going to write about how the leftist progressives “Steamrolled” the Democrat Party.

For Obama, et al, everything hinges on the 2014 midterm elections. If the Dems cannot retake the House while holding the Senate, it’s over for Obama and he’s lame ducked for two final years. Till 2014, we’ll see the same standoffs with the GOP controlled House, while the Senate continues to twiddle its thumbs. Obama will try to win in 2014 by splitting conservative and moderate Republicans. Knowing the playbook, Bill Clinton just publicly cautioned Obama about going too far and energizing the Tea Party, which delivered landslides for the GOP at the last midterms in 2010.

One gambit for splitting conservatives from moderates in the GOP might be to use an executive order or congressinal reconciliation to make gay marriage legal under federal law. Waste no time arguing over whether this is possible – the goal is to get the GOP arguing with itself, not to actually establish it as law.

Expect similar actions along the social/moral axis of issues, perhaps – I dunno, winging it here – more religious agencies included in contraception mandates, restricting tax-free status for selected religious orgs, banning even the mention of religion in public schools, etc., crap like that. Whatever they come up with, it’ll be something that a deeply religious GOP-er would hate, but a go along to get along moderate GOP-er might tolerate, thereby heightening the already growing gap between the current GOP leadership and its conservative base. Obama wants to, at best, create ‘Obama Republicans’ similar to Reagan Democrats, or, at worst, get moderate GOP-ers to stay home and not vote in the 2014 midterms.

If/when such proposals emerge, do not dismiss them if they appear to obvious nonstarters – the goal is to divide and conquer the GOP, not pass legislation. But if Obama is successful with his divide and conquer plan to win the House to go with the Senate, 2014-2016 legislation will make what passed in 2008-2010 look like child’s play.

We need to identify weak-kneed, moderate GOP-ers dropping out due to despair and get them on board.

PS: Expected to see music video upper left – Steamroller by James Taylor

Since before the election, I have been saying that Republicans need to fight Obama every inch of the way. Their failure to do so was a big reason for their defeat in November and could lead to their defeat in 2014 and 2016.

For example, when Obama started saying back in 2008 the Republican policies were responsible for the recession, they should have responded immediately and forcefully. The causes of the recession were complex, but Republican policies, especially the few that Obama mentioned, were far less responsible than the Democrat policies. It would have been easy to point this out.

Obama is now going back to the “rich need to pay their share” meme. That needs to be countered, because the rich now may more than their share, unless you believe that everything they make belongs to the government.

Campaigning has changed and the Republicans need to adapt. So far they haven’t.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JayDick. | January 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    It’s the same old story. ‘Pubs are cowed by the media. They don’t want anything “bad” said about them. They are constantly on the defensive.

    It seems the day will never come when they shed their fear of being bad-mouthed and just do the right damned thing for once.

Insufficiently Sensitive | January 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm

This means a second term in which Obama… will resort more directly to executive actions and to mobilizing the public to force cooperation wherever possible.

And ‘mobilizing the public’ is to be achieved by Obama’s new top-down 501(c)4 NGO, a mere privatization and label-switch from his immense campaign organization OFA – now ‘Organize for Action’. But it has now metastasized into a murky boiler-room operation, which accepts unlimited donations from hopeful beneficiaries of Obama’s presidential policies, and need disclose nothing of the donors nor the amounts of baksheesh. Professor Jacobson spotted it right away, and we’ve not heard the last of it.

Greg Sargent is disingenuous in failing to report on this new, unprecedented personal street army. Worse times are before us.

There are no blue steamrollers or red steamrollers. Only,

“I won.”

Midwest Rhino | January 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Obama’s steamroller wheels are hollow, since he has not accomplished anything FOR the people. He’s full of hot air. Post election Obama is coming out of the closet as a far left intolerant radical. “Mask Off” Obama will NOW lose popularity, as I see it.

* Obamacare was mostly delayed till after the election … NOW we are finding out how bad it is.

* 86% feel government spending is out of control, so Obama promised $3 in cuts for $1 in taxes (not “revenue”). NOW he has already broken that promise.

* He was for the second amendment, NOW he wants to rework it, and ignores big killings are in HIS gun free zones (including Chicago). 66% believe our right to bear arms is to protect us from tyrants.

* Al Qaeda was “on the run”. Obama’s lies about Benghazi survived past the election. NOW we know the president sent his ambassador to push a fabricated cover story, then lied himself, in front of the UN, all for his campaign.

* Obama’s war on energy hurts the little guy and jobs numbers. NOW fracking and CO2 scares are being exposed as frauds, with Al Gore selling out to al Jazeera.

* If markets falter, which seems likely to me, this will NOW be blamed on Obama also, since he is getting his spending increases, and has lied about cutting. Fitch will cut our credit rating because of fiscal insanity, not meaningless debt ceilings.

My concern is a serious financial crisis, where the bond bubble bursts (fed forced low interest rates can’t last in the face of parabolic debt). Obama might try something extreme to bail out banks or to “federalize” parts of the marketplace.

And something will happen with Iran.

Chavez and Castro are Obama’s model communists. That may indicate he will attempt to get away with even grander takeover of our government. He supported Zelaya’s gransiose attempts in Honduras, and he sees his unions and welfare class as his internal army, along with his executive branch “generals”.

The man is dangerous and is willing to roll the dice with our freedoms. Jobs and the economy are not his priority .. he wants revolution NOW. The question to me is, how many have already sold US out for a seat at his table.

Steamrolling the opposition is a snap when the opposition is lead by a guy who was born flat as a pancake.

BannedbytheGuardian | January 22, 2013 at 6:08 pm

This scenario is quite polite. there exists a Boy Cried Wolf Syndrome on both sides.

A team wants a PUTSCH but can only push & shove

B team threatens to take up arms for revolt but is all hat & no ammo.

Tweedledee & Tweedledum will fumble on because we are all risk averse.