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President Obama to the Whiny Left: ‘Wake Up’

Posted on Sep 21, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

President Obama apparently blames the enthusiasm gap—the lack of support from his dispirited base—on the unenthused. Speaking at a fundraiser, Obama said Democrats who are displeased with his watered down legislation need to “wake up.”

President Obama speaking in Philadelphia:

So when I hear Democrats griping and groaning and saying, well, you know, the health care plan didn’t have a public option; and I don’t know, the financial reform—there was a provision here that I think we should have gotten better; or, you know what, yes, you ended the war in Iraq, the combat mission there, but you haven’t completely finished the Afghan war yet; or this or that or the other—I say, folks, wake up. (Laughter.) This is not some academic exercise. As Joe Biden put it, don’t compare us to the Almighty; compare us to the alternative. (Laughter and applause.) That’s what’s at stake in this election.

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Not to nitpick the president, but belittling dissatisfaction over the financial regulation bill that doesn’t do anything to prevent another meltdown as “there was a provision here that I think we should have gotten better” and criticism of the aimless dystopian nightmare of the Afghan war as “you haven’t completely finished the Afghan war yet” is just not a great way of motivating your disaffected supporters.  —PZS

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 24, 2010 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

ITW—To my recollection there was not much sticking up for Bush in the last two years of his reign.  And as you may recall, the contest for the Republican nomination was singularly vituperative, presaging the appearance of the Tea Parties.

If someone like Carl Paladino wins, it will mean that the voters have lost their collective minds.  In that case, the Democrats, whose guiding slogan is ‘We may not look like much, but we’re the ones who aren’t crazy,’ could not have done anything about it, united or split apart.  But I think the voters are not quite that crazy.

In any case, proggies have not been part of Obama’s team since around May of ‘08, when he very deliberately and overtly dumped them off the bandwagon.  They can consent to vote for Democrats as the lesser evil, if they like, but this is not going to rekindle the enthusiasm, and that’s what’s missing.  It is probably too late to do anything about the 2010 election anyway; I suppose progs should be looking ahead to running a candidate of their own in 2012, or joining the Greens, since they are such total monarchists as to believe and act as if only the presidency is important.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment


How do you figure I’m wrong?

“When THEIR guy is President, no matter how much they detest him, they all stick up for him and defend against all outsiders.  They wait till he’s OUT of office to rip ‘em down.”

That’s exactly what has happened. Silence until Bush was out and the party was in SERIOUS defeat—THEN the Teaparty got “hot” and took off.

I HOPE you are right and the Dems prevail in the House and Senate.  I really, really, REALLY want you to be right.

But I’m afraid you are not.  Too many bad signs are there.  Cuomo could even lose in NY. O’Donnell could win in Delaware.  Rand Paul PROBABLY will win in Kentucky. Boxer could lose in California.  Miller WILL win in Alaska….

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By Flummox, September 23, 2010 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind, the house isn’t burning down. If I had a nickel for every crazy who thinks the Republicans gaining seats in the house and senate is the apocalypse I would be rich enough to buy each one a club to beat themselves with.

The problem are the cowards who don’t have the stomach to stand up for their convictions. That is largely why the left looses most of the time. It’s fear, fear of the tea party that drives most liberal to hide under Obama’s coattails. He, and the rest of the corrupt and useless Democratic leadership, can be as contemptuous of you as they want as long as they let you cower behind them, isn’t that right?

No, change needs to come to Washington and the Democrats who live there now cannot and will not deliver. Time to move on.

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By Anarcissie, September 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

ITW—You’re wrong about Republicans.  The whole Tea Party thing has been a revolt against the established leadership of the Republican Party.  It has already taken out a number of important figures, and it may have saved the House and Senate for the Democrats. 

On the whole, Mr. O and his advisors have treated proggies quite contemptuously.  This might be reasonable if they were whizzes at politics, finance and government, but obviously they are not.  They need the ideological fervor of the very people they have dumped to compensate for their other deficiencies.  Instead, they’ve doubled down on their contempt.

In any case, some of the differences of opinion between Mr. O and the proggies are fairly serious, like the prosecution of endless war in the Middle East, and the rush to aid the rich while doing little or nothing for the distressed among the middle and lower classes.  These issues can’t be handwaved off as a triviality.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Republicans are SO much smarter than Democrats.  When THEIR guy is President, no matter how much they detest him, they all stick up for him and defend against all outsiders.  They wait till he’s OUT of office to rip ‘em down.

But Democrats start ripping down their own President before he finishes his Inaugural Address and shred him as much and as hard as the GOP do.  So, since Johnson f***ed up by getting us deeper and deeper into Viet Nam, we’ve been shredding our guy and giving the GOPers a HUGE advantage.  And it’s always some FOOL “standing on principle”.

We did it to LBJ. We did it to Jimmy Carter. We did it to Bill Clinton.  And now we are doing it to Barack Obama.

Folks, the house is burning down.  Only an idiot says “Stop! Don’t use that fire hose.  The water is polluted!”

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By Flummox, September 22, 2010 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

We are not all in thrall, Gerard. A much larger problem on the left is many would rather give in to fear of the Republicans than keep their values front and center, where they should be. Just because the Republicans have a victory does not mean they won’t be voted out again, or stopped from pursuing their worst excesses.

No, hiding behind Obama’s coattails does nothing but let the Democrats off the hook, and their feet need to be held to the fire just as much as, if not even more than, the Republicans. And that is what’s called truly playing the long game: hold tight to your values (and not just your party) even when the chips are down.

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By grumpynyker, September 22, 2010 at 10:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Think I’ll sit this farce out since Dennis Kucinich has
been emasculated and Cynthia McKinney is busy peddling
her tricycle across the United States of Amerikkka. 
Regardless of their age, I’ll bitch-slap any black
Obama cherleader still apologizing for this mulatto and
endorsing his reelection in 2012.  Thought of writing
in the location of dried-out dog feces as a
presidential candidate but not sure of the election
machines recently installed in NYC.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 22, 2010 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

gerard—that’s a false ‘we’.  You don’t seem to be in thrall.

I think plenty of people can envision alternatives.  They just don’t know how to approach them—yet.  But the goddess TINA has feet of clay, and the water’s rising.

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Peetawonkus's avatar

By Peetawonkus, September 22, 2010 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

And Democrats wonder why they get hammered by the Reich-wing… Obama bends over backwards to appease a Tea Party/Republican bunch (same thing) but reserves his tough talk for the people who got his timid ass elected.

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By Magginkat, September 22, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Speaking at a fundraiser, Obama said Democrats who are displeased with his watered down legislation need to “wake up.”

We are awake Mr. Obama and that’s what angers you.  Personally I was never impressed by your supposedly inspiring speeches.  I have been voting for the lesser of two evils for most of my voting life….40 something yrs.. and am sick of the poor choices I have.

We need a Harry Truman in these despearate times and you are not it.  Might I suggest that you get your behind in gear & stand up for We the People or announce that you will not run for re-election in 2012.

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By Liette, September 22, 2010 at 6:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama aksed the black community to “guard change”.  I say it is chump change Obama has given us all.  thanks for the bad service Obama, Keep the change.  Chump Change.

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By R.C., September 22, 2010 at 6:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As he quoted Biden to say “don’t compare us to the Almighty; compare us to the alternative.” I get it.

I think we all get it, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use some constructive advice from the people who put you where you you are, Mr. Obama!

Otherwise, you won’t know how you’re doing!

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By the worm, September 22, 2010 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

Look at these policy decisions and tell me Obama is not to the Right.

1. Gutted real financial reform (no Glass-Steagle, no ‘too big too fail) –
2. Rejected the only option that would have simultaneously extended coverage
and cut costs (single payer) -
3. Supported a stingy stimulus that was a third tax breaks -
4. Doubled-down and accelerated the Bush bailouts -
5. Escalated a meaningless and fruitless war in Afghanistan -
6. Not helped people with bankruptcy & mortgages remediation -
7. Fiddled around & not passed a jobs bill and even had to strain to extend
unemployment compensation -
8. Promoted off shore drilling, only to see it backfire in his face –
9. Ignored previous Republican profligacy, crimes, misdemeanors -
10. Used “Heck of a Job, Timmy” Geithner to promote low capital gains and
dividend taxes for the wealthy –
11. Sand bagged a budget balancing commission to cut Social Security

Yes, the election is a “choice”; but it is a choice between two positions on the
Right of the political spectrum.

Obama has no credentials for speaking ill of the “Liberals” lack of support for
him; he does not support Liberal positions.

Obama may be preferable to the other Republicans, but he is, at heart, a
Republican. We need a Democratic President.

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By Big B, September 22, 2010 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

Prez Barry will forever be the pragmatist.

He now knows that 2010 is lost, mostly because of his lack of leadership and vision. So what to do? Why you give the house and the senate back to repugs and play the same game game they played in 2008. Knowing the american voting public is largely uninformed (and stupid) they will, in the next two years, begin to blame the now back in power repugs for the nations ills. And then Barry can ride in on his white horse once again in 2012 and save us.

Barry’s only chance in 2012 is to get joe sixpak to once again blame the repugs for the state of the US.
But thanks to Citizens United, he still may not stand a snowballs chance in hell.

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By samosamo, September 22, 2010 at 3:16 am Link to this comment


Well, o, I just look at your traitorous record
from your inauguration of 99.4% carrying the
previous detrimental administration’s agendas
on into yours as direct evidence you haven’t the
moxie to stand up to the ‘power’ and help us,
the people, who to you are the red headed step
children being constantly beaten for your
anxieties of getting NOTHING done, or close to
nothing done that helps the people and NOT the
corporate treasonous traitors who pull and jerk
your every string.

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By Steve E, September 22, 2010 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Resign Barry, just go away.

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By Druthers, September 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

Continue down this road Mr. President and the “griping and groaning” may turn to ranting and raging.
That quip is as bad as “Let them eat bread.”
You are the one who had better wake up!.

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By Grousefeather, September 21, 2010 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Obama, how many republican war-criminals have you helped prosecute?

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By gerard, September 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

“The thrall in which an ideology (capitalism) holds a peopple is best measured by their collective inability to imagine alternatives.”—Tony Judt, “Captive Minds” in New York Review of Books, Sept. 30, 2010

We are all in this thrall, Obama and his cohorts along with the entire “liberal” population.  We are all afraid to think, afraid to act, and trying to pass on the responsibility to someone else, which is craven, whether it comes from Obama or appears here in comment after comment.

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By scraypgrayce, September 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

We’ll have to go out and vote to save Congress from the damage O’Rahma has
done, but I’ll be damned if I’ll vote for him again.  We worked hard; we sent
money; we voted, and he kicked us in the teeth.  Now he goes out and gives
speeches about us being “whiny” while he gives it all away - care to check out the
membership of the effing “deficit commission?” - and retires whenever to a rich,
secure future while the rest of us struggle and watch our kids struggle harder.


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By call me roy, September 21, 2010 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

I just have one question for Barry? Will you go running to Billy & Franklin Graham again before the November election?

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By rend, September 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not sure what is so upsetting to people, the guy was pretty straight forward going in. JUst a
little bit of investigation showed his motivations. Christ look at his VP pick for starts!

If you voted for him , you voted for 4 years of further wanking, not understanding that as
you stood in the poll booth is your fault.

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By mdgr, September 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

You abandoned your base, Mr. President. It, in turn, abandoned you. If you wish to assign blame, just look in the mirror.

You entranced the world in 2008 but the seduction has worn very thin. For all your dazzling rhetoric, you’ve NEVER walked you talk, and everybody knows it.

You helped Wall Street, but the Wall Street Journal still held you in contempt. Your polls are currently propped-up by Black voters but they are publicly abandoning you and town meetings, asking, “What have you done for Blacks?” They too are beginning to hold you in contempt.

You give the nod to your culture heroes like Joe Biden, but he increasingly looks like Elmer Fudd.

As Naomi Klein just said in a recent interview, it is time to channel progressive and independent rage. It is time to create a viable third party.

You and your party of lobbyist-johns, Mr. President, are toast.

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By Kath Cantarella, September 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes you are all in danger of losing a smart president, not a perfect one. Oh to be as perfect as ya’all. You think it’ll happen someday if i try really hard?

Read on if you want to know something about the Australian experience of losing a good, not perfect, statesman.

In Australia, we have a Westminister system, something like Canada’s, but a little different. Rudd was a good Labor (centre left) PM, but he was forced to drop his ETS legislation (or face a double-dissolution election, which he should’ve done: he would’ve won in a landslide judging by poll no’s at the time) because an egotistical intelligent fool named Tony Abbott with a pathogical case of liar syndrome challenged the excellent bi-partisan leader of the Opposition and won by one vote. Until then Rudd was the most popular leader in Australian political history, precisely because his economic policies were fair and progressive and not over-protecting the rich. Rudd stood up to the mining billionaires with a new tax to get fair value for our resources which are being quickly depleted. The miners launched a massive ad campaign against him, destroying Rudd’s strength in the polls after which his own party rolled him. So in our little ‘democracy’ we have a situation where an elected national leader was removed by a bunch of over-entitled rich guys and a tiny poll sample by… NEWSPOLL! Brought to you by News ltd.

I don’t blame Gillard, who challenged Rudd, simply because she knew she was risking her political future in order to keep Abbott out of govt. Bill Shorten, one of the faction leaders behind the challenge, was in a win-win situation: if Gillard lost the election, he would be in a good position to take up leadership of the party, if she won he could expect a promotion of some sort. I have an ingrained dislike for such ambitious selfish players as Shorten and Abbott. But Gillard survived the election. We had a hung parliament with 1 Green and 4 independents. If conservative independent Rob Oakshott had decided to back the conservative Opposition, Abbott would be PM and Gillard’s career would be over. Oakshott did a courageous thing, and a lot of his conservative rural constituents nonetheless despise him for it. He has more power to effect policy this way. But he will probably be voted out in 3 years regardless of what he achieves because of rusted-on conservatives. Whatever, people usually get the rep they deserve.

The Australian economy is healthy but a troubling aspect of it is a massive over-reliance on the resources boom. The current mining tax was put in place years ago when prices for minerals were dirt-cheap in comparison. Rudd’s idea was a super-profits tax, which only cut in at a high level of profit, thus giving Australian citizens fair value for their finite resources while protecting mining companies in lean times. It had the added advantage of carefully weening the junky off the heroin: taking super profits from the mining boom to pay back debt and to invest in infrastructive and incentives to develop other unrelated industries. It’s not rocket science, but the average voter didn’t see it with their own eyes, they saw it through the ads of the mining execs who think they’re running the country.

The people of the USA are foolish if they are prepared in a fit of pique to hamstring a decent man. Watch him fail at the next election to give way to the much more powerful American version of our mining cartel. Maybe you should punish the dems later. Do you remember what they inherited from Bush? You now have universal healthcare, such as it is, which is nothing short of miraculous with your corrupt system. A few weak, corrupt Dems or a right-wing philosophy that deifies the abuse of economic power? That worked out well last time through Bush, Clinton (rightwinger), Bush, Reagan.
People think greed just translates into jobs and not corruption, civil strife and recessions.

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By yours truly, September 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The lesson of the Obama presidency is that the left can’t depend on any one promising luminary to advance its agenda, since invariably he/she/they will sell out to the highest bidder.  Nor should we look to any party (Democratic, Green, other) to lead the way because the party system lacks the spontaneity and creativity that’s a must if the left is ever to rise again.  For that to happen there’ll have to be a mass movement in puruit of not only a better America but a better world.  What’s more there’s an urgency to this, what with perpetual war + global warming + economic collapse = doomsday, and time running out.

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By rico, suave, September 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

Youse guys on the left have just GOT to be pissed at this guy.

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By th, September 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Obama, it is you who should wake up. 

Americans are suffering, and yet you laugh at them & chide them for being frustrated at your lackadaisical attitude.  Shame on you!  You’re worse than the opposition!

You will not get another vote from me, nor will any other do-nothing democrat—ever.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, September 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

It’s not going to work, because your policy’s aren’t that much different than the alternative.

No amount of hair splitting, or rationalization is going to make up for what you’ve done.

Goldman Sachs is still in charge, then there’s the deal you made not to allow the import of cheaper pharmacueticals, etc…etc… etc…

Your running out of time Mr. President, pretty soon your going to be a lame Duck. What are you going to say then, that you were abandoned by the left of your own party?

But that’s just what they say about you..

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