90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Is The President Leading?

We look at President Obama’s leadership — where it’s strong and where it’s not — in a tumultuous world.

Bob Oakes in for Tom Ashbrook

Obama speaks at the La Moneda Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile, Monday. (AP)

Obama speaks at the La Moneda Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile, Monday. (AP)

President Obama was out front, weeks ago, with his NCAA bracket picks, but he’s been nuanced about the goal of the airstrikes in Libya.

And in recent weeks he’s been very low-key on top national priorities like social security, the budget and energy policy.

Critics on the left and the right are wondering, where is the president? Where do his priorities really lie? Is it with winning the vote or leading the nation? Is this president foundering, or is her playing a very deft hand?

This hour On Point: The president’s leadership in tough times.

- Bob Oakes


Matt Yglesias, fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. He blogs at the site ThinkProgress.

Reihan Salam, columnist for “The Daily” and policy advisor for “Economics 21.”  His blog, for the National Review Online, is “The Agenda.” .

David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN and professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School and the director of its Center for Public Leadership. He has served as an adviser to Presidents Reagan, Nixon, Ford and Clinton.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Michael

    His leadership on illegal israeli settlements(even in U.S. terms), veto of resolutions on settlements, health care, health care loop holes for the likes of McDonalds, unfunded tax cuts, Banking and Wall Street weak sause reform. His Recent comment about how americans can’t stand by and watch civilians get killed by it’s own military in regards to libya, yet Barhain and Yeman seems to be excluded are just a few examples of weak leadership.

    I still see him winning in 2012 cause the right will appeal to the rabid rightwing of there party. And once again the media is playing there statist part in regards to libya.

  • Anonymous

    The “Is The President Leading?” question is the easiest to answer on many topics.

    US Domestic Energy policy? NO
    Foreign Policy in Egypt? NO
    Foreign Policy in Libya? NO
    Economy? NO
    Environment? NO
    Federal Spending? NO they didn’t even have a budget last year.
    Federal Spending Cuts to redundant or wasteful programs? NO

    • Cory

      How would ANY other politician of ANY other party done on these questions? What programs are you talking about cutting? Defense, medicare? No one is going to really address any of this until there is no choice. Then, whoever does will not be re-elected to whatever office they hold. Why? Because we are a selfish, short sighted, and fairly slow witted population.

      • Anonymous


        The first problem with your thinking is… The purpose of being president of the United States is not to be reelected, but to make the US a better place than it was when you arrive in office.

        Secondly Obama promised during the presidential debates that he wouldn’t ax any departments or major programs but he would go line by line with a scalpel removing the waste and corruption. Has he started this yet? Why did he pass a 2k page healthcare bill with lots of waste in it?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know how to answer the question without pointing to two and possibly three consecutive decades of almost criminal leadership. Rather than get into the details of those presidential track records, it’s probably time for us to assess our track records as engaged citizens.

    Obama made it very clear in his inaugural address that his leadership depended on our engagement in the process of reform. We just haven’t lived up to our potential — nowhere near. We have loud voices, weak responses.

    Probably the element that most threatens our democracy is the extent of corporate influence. With the right individual choices, we have the economic power to tame and even cripple corporations but we don’t use it. In light of that failure and anomie, it seems feckless and cruel to drop a good man into a lousy job we’ve done nothing to make easier and then sit down for a discussion of his performance! His performance? What about ours?

    • Anonymous

      He is the president and his job is to lead. We are now seeing what the world looks and acts like when there is a lack of leadership in the white house.

      • Cory

        What does any of what you just said mean? What would a president with mighty leadership skills have done differently? What would McCain, Palin, or Romney have done?

    • Tictoc21

      Well said. Everyone wants to look at/blame the president/congress when things go on that we don’t like. We ought to look in the mirror. We citizens have been derilect in our duties for far too long.

      • Greg Camp

        Tea Party participants could argue that they have been taking the lead.

        • Dan

          Tea Party participants have proven that they’re capable of arguing just about anything they want. Death panels? Totally reasonable. Treasonous Kenya usurper? Hey, gotta report the controversy.

          Boston, MA

          • Greg Camp

            It’s only leadership when you agree with it?

          • Dan

            One topic at a time: no, leadership is not “leadership only when I agree with it.”

            Secondly, if the Tea Party’s actions qualify as leadership, then I don’t know why we’re even using the term. The Tea Party says they want to cut cut cut: great, go for it! There are three areas of the budget that you need to hack at to get the deficit under control without raising taxes (which are obviously not up for discussion, because that’s for communists). You won an election; what are you going to cut?

            Thirdly, my point was that the Tea Party’s arguments haven’t exactly been tethered to reality, which makes it easy to argue almost anything you’d like.

            Boston, MA

          • Greg Camp

            The point was that the people need to lead. I’m suggesting that many people did in 2010, although the Congress and the President aren’t doing much since then. The leadership of the people is often in general terms, while that of a president can be specific.

          • Dan

            Whose point was that? Yours?

            In a country of 310 million people, who are “the people” who need to lead? If the answer is “all of us,” what better system do you propose than a republic?

            What do you think “many people did” so darn well “in 2010,” and why on Earth would all those people stop doing all those wonderful things fewer than six months later?

            Boston, MA

          • Greg Camp

            Prairie_W’s comment was about how the people need to lead. My response is that a portion did in the 2010 election. Leadership of “the people” tends to come in waves that get something done once and then dissipate.

          • Anonymous

            Greg: The tea party could have put together an honest and respected movement. But they stepped back only a few months into their effort and let a group of rightwing corporatists buy them out and a silly, shallow political babe speak for them. They haven’t owned their souls since. They invented a game and then they lost it. That’s about as foolish as you can get.

          • Anonymous

            You cannot lead a house divided against itself…unless you become a dictator. And that is the conundrum of anyone who ‘leads’ America in our current polarized state and ignorance of the complexities of our gov’t. Check out this fabulous 1-1/2 minute, easy to understand explanation of the National Budget: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWt8hTayupE

        • Cory

          …or drinking the Kool-Aid.

      • millard_fillmore

        Tictoc21, you mean when you and your friends (we) looked in the mirror during Bush’s time in the WH and didn’t blame him or Cheney when things went on which you didn’t like? Comments like these – from Obama apologists – do inject some levity on this forum. :)

        You might want to recalibrate that yardstick of yours to act in the same manner, irrespective of whether you voted for a person or not, or whether there’s a “D” or an “R” next to a politician’s name.

    • Gail


      I have faith in the American people that when they have had enough of the political and financial/corporate elites that they will vote the incumbents out of office. We saw a good showing of that in 2010.

      Until the time comes when the incumbents are voted out of office in mass, we will continue to see more financial wealth extraction and economic decline as a country.

      Economist Michael Hudson and others state it best:

      The financial capitalists/globalists, through neoliberal economic policies that are supported by the political elites, continue to extract the financial wealth of the American people.

      The last neoliberal economic stage for the United States is neo-feudalism (a contemporary rebirth of policies of governance and economy reminiscent of those present in many pre-industrial feudal societies).

      In the January 2011 Davos, Switzerland conference attendees voiced their concerns about the income inequality in the U.S. since they understand it makes societies volatile – such as what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa.

      The U.S. income inequality is markedly the worst of all developed economies as measured by the Gini coefficent.

      Educating ourselves and sharing the information with others is helpful since our corporate media is failing us.

      Since our country has been through the robber barons before it will just take time and hard work to turn this country around.

      • Gail

        President Obama is a good reader and tows the corporate line in order to receive his campaign finance contributions for his 2008 election and 2012 re-election.

        The political system is corrupt with campaign finance contributions, which must end – along with lobbyists.

        Obama blew it when he took office. A once in a hundred year opportunity to break up the big banks and take down the multi-national corporation monopolies. Now it will take more time and more work.

        Our country needs another Teddy Roosevelt – someone who can speak softly and carry a big stick – Obama is not that person.

        • Cory

          Be careful… I’m from Wisconsin, and that kind of sentiment can get you a Scott Walker type politician. A bully who doesn’t believe in negotiation and trys to destroy his political rivals.

          • Zing

            … at the behest of his constituents.

      • Anonymous

        How did voting for Republicans in 2010 do anything to combat income inequality?

      • Anonymous

        Good summary. But I don’t have quite the faith in the American People. I think what happened on Wall Street, which many knew about in advance (good read “The Big Short” by same guy who wrote “The Blind Side”…), is too complicated for most Americans to understand. Many of those who knew in advance about the dangers of the lethal combination of sub-prime lending, unregulated hedge funds, derivatives and credit default swaps sadly ended up as “the advisers” in charge of financial reform (instead of behind bars). Brooksley Born warned us of the dangerous financial tsunami back in the 1990′s, was shouted down by many of the “advisers and experts”, and resigned from her federally appointed position in disgust.

    • PI Resident

      Consider the way that the citizens have been forced to vote in gerrymandered districts.
      We elect partisans because that is the way the the Rs and R-lites (aka the Dems) have set up the system.
      And then the US Rep will try to move on to the Senate, making that body more partisan as well.

    • Steven

      I agree that the blame lays largely with us as it should in a democratic republic. We are an extemely divided nation. I hear right wingers calling Obama a socialist and just laugh. They are more out of touch than I am up here in Maine. They will become more out of touch if they succeed in killing NPR and any other national institutions that broaden our view to take in opposing opinions. Obama is in the middle and the left is almost silent. He gave away the store when he didn’t even attempt a single payer health system. It would have failed anyway but he needed to try. I think The President is doing as good a job as possible with a country could split apart if the divisions where more geographically based.
      The strength of corporations is beyond reason. If a corporation has the right to free speech then a chemical shuold be innocent until proven guilty. I’m waiting for that one. Although in genetics class we were taught the opposite is true. I wonder what our old friend William F. Buckley would think of the current conservative movement. I rarely agreed with a point he argued but how he did it with style, humor and generosity. I suppose no one has replaced him because we are no longer capable of appreciating those qualities.

      • millard_fillmore

        In a democracy, majority rules. That’s the basic principle and you can’t get around it. When you write “It would have failed anyway but he needed to try.” regarding SPHS, what does that imply? Why would it have failed if there was a majority behind it? And if there wasn’t a majority behind it, why should Obama or anyone try to implement it? That doesn’t square with the democratic method of solving problems.

        You can’t have it both ways.

        • Anonymous

          We are a Democratic Republic – huge difference – majority doesn’t rule for a reason!

          • millard_fillmore

            You should look up the description of those two terms – there’s a huge overlap. And characterizing USA as a democracy is not incorrect. Decision on propositions is made through voting and majority win (Prop 8 in CA for example, numerous others in MA). Bringing in “we’re a republic and not a democracy” is pretty stupid and shows the ignorance of the person who makes such remarks.

          • millard_fillmore

            So are you saying that Obama didn’t win a majority of electoral votes? Is that not how we decide who will be the President? I think you’re confusing a direct democracy (Switzerland is the closest to that concept) with democracy. I never claimed that USA is a direct democracy, but referring to the system we have as a democratic one is not incorrect. Retorting to that assertion with “we’re a republic” is pointless and empty, other than the smug satisfaction the person who makes such a retort does.

          • Anonymous

            Talk about smug & stupid. Well, you are a sweet one aren’t you.

            You said “In a democracy, majority rules” – we are not a democracy and majority does not rule for a reason -we are a Democratic Republic – which is different

        • Steven

          I said democratic republic. In a democracy every citizen votes on all issues. In a representative democracy there is some government machinery that gets in the way. If this was a democracy we might have had Al Gore for a president for at least 4 years. That SPHS would have failed implies that there is not a direct correlation between public opinion and our representatives votes. I said I agreed with Prairie_W that corporate power is too great and that is why we will never have single payer health care or any nimber of progressive institutions. Why we’ll lose unions. The blame is on us because we respond in surveys in ways that we are not willing to back up with anything more than punching a Like on Facebook.Thanks for the comment millard.

    • Cory

      That is why democrats were swept out of office 2 years after being swept in. They couldn’t fix everything in two years, so out they went. The American voter is fickle, feckless, and votes primarily with their wallet. Your post makes a great point in calling us all to account.

      • Zing


  • Alex

    Leadership? How could the following transformation happen? When he took office a little more than two years ago the most unpopular groups of people in the country were Wall Street bankers and Republicans. Today, our attention somehow shifted to math teachers and NPR.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed, but is that due to Obama? That shift you must attribute to other “leaders” in our Senate. (and stupid mistake by NPR fund raiser!!!!)

  • Greg Camp

    Look at Obama’s signature piece of domestic policy: health care reform. He stayed in the background and gave up one thing after another. A leader would have been out front, speaking on television and to groups, until his program passed.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

    • Anonymous

      Am I imagining things, or didn’t I see Obama totally devoted to getting some health care reform — ANY health care reform — passed? That’s all he talked about (even when I might have preferred Tort reform before health care reform, and someone other than Larry Summers advising him on financial crisis!) And considering the stated goals of 1/2 of congress to veto every one of his proposal, and to make him a one term president, I am amazed anything got passed at all. Not saying existing Health Care Reform is right or not, just saying people can’t really say O. didn’t throw himself into that cause 110%.

    • Anonymous

      Am I imagining things, or didn’t I see Obama totally devoted to getting some health care reform — ANY health care reform — passed? That’s all he talked about (even when I might have preferred Tort reform before health care reform, and someone other than Larry Summers advising him on financial crisis!) And considering the stated goals of 1/2 of congress to veto every one of his proposal, and to make him a one term president, I am amazed anything got passed at all. Not saying existing Health Care Reform is right or not, just saying people can’t really say O. didn’t throw himself into that cause 110%.

  • Michael

    More lack of leadership,

    Forgot to add his reversal on Gitmo, increase in drone attacks, increase in U.S. soilders overseas (Iraq drawdown went to afganstain), GE appointment,

    Sadly even with all this he’s still better than Bush and leagues above what one could expert from Mccain/Palin or any of the republicans hopefuls so far.

    Sad days

  • Greg Camp

    What I’ve observed since Reagan is that Republican presidents push an insufficient message, while Democratic presidents compromise on everything. Either way, America ends up muddling through.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

  • guest

    I think the president doesn’t understand the difference between consensus-building and leadership. I think he thinks they’re the same thing. Sometimes leading means doing things that aren’t popular and bringing others along with you.

    • Greg Camp

      His background in community organizing may be at fault. Community groups tend to have a wide variety of members, and inevitably, there’s a wacko who won’t go along with the program. What happens is that the group has to adopt a meaningless or insipid policy.

  • Gary Trees

    Here’s to hoping that the administration didn’t get into this Libya situtation with the belief that it would be a quick, one-and-done, effort. I think that we have seen previous administrations with that same mindset get way in over their collective heads, inevitably to their infamy.

  • Dan

    Obama rocks my world. Also, I’ll wager $50 that Reihan Salam makes steam come out of my ears within the first five minutes.

    Boston, MA

  • Geri

    Reihan Salam is one of the brightest, most insightful columnists / analysts in the United States.

    • Michael


      such comment must be the joke of the day, Reihan is hardly anything the above poster mention.

  • David

    Yes Obama is leading the American people: right over a cliff.

    He is committed to doing the bidding of Wall Street and the multinational corporations.

    It looks like he is always caving to Republicans but in reality it is what he was put there to do: advance the agenda of the criminal rich.

    • Cory

      What was the presidential alternative in the last election, Romney?!

  • LinP

    I could weep at the lack of leadership from Obama. He had the world and the power in the palm of his hand after the election, and poof, he just let it go. Here’s the new boss, same as the old boss. Sometimes populist in rhetoric, always corporatist in policy.

    • Cory

      I hope the next time the left wins an election like 08, they shove their mandate and agenda up the right’s ass. No consensus, bipatisanship, or negotiation. Take a lesson from Scott Walker.

      • Zing

        Hope all you want…if wishes were horses, beggars would ride

  • Michael

    Reihan Salam- rightwinger, openly parstian
    David Gergen-moderate right
    Matt Yglesias-moderate left

    Outcome-slanted right (Sic) objective show.
    So much for balances, at least Jane is not hosting.

    • nj

      Just more of NPR tacking rightward to avoid anticipated, rightwing criticism of being “liberal.” Not that it will matter, they’ll do it anyway, and we’re left with a narrow range of right-tilted “debate” that passes for balanced.

      • millard_fillmore

        I fully agree!! How dare they bring in someone with a different view-point? I certainly don’t tolerate anyone who has view different than mine and it is a waste of my time since I know I’m correct and they are wrong. After all, NPR is a leftist bastion and our world-view is based on truth and by extension, rest all world-views are invalid and based on lies. (Kind of like Christianity claims to be the only religion with direct access to the one true god.) And diversity implies only those voices which agree with me. Shame on NPR for hosting these guests on the show – only those with their leftist credentials certified by Noam Chomsky should be allowed as guests. We should form a committee and some sub-committees to look into this injustice.

  • Steve Cotton

    President Obama’s response is brilliant. By suggesting that Quaddafi’s removal is part of American policy he does two things:

    1.) If the rebels succeed — great, our air-support works fine, this quote is forgotten.
    2.) If the rebels do not succeed, then Obama can suggest he has made a consistent message, if he decides to attempt to take Quaddafi out, suggesting it was part of the plan in the first place.

    Steve Cotton – Boston, MA

  • Jonathan

    My only concern about the military action in Libya is, how far are we willing to go? What if the no fly zone is too little too late? What if Ghadaffi remains in control of Libiya? Has the president considered the long-term ramifications of his actions?

    • Anonymous

      “we” shouldn’t go any further than the UN sanctions (overtly). Shouldn’t our long term ramifications be that we supported the U.N. I agree we can afford yet another battle front, so air strikes “backing up” other UN nation’s actions was a wise middle ground. But I wonder if Ghadaffi ever considered the ramifications of Lockerbie when he “ordered” it? Were there any ramifications? Oh yes…the guy who carried out his orders spent some time in jail and was recently sent home due to his cancer, “as an act of compassion.”

  • Shumba

    Why does L. Graham’s disingenuous comment matter. Lead or backseat, either way he would argue for the other.

  • Greg Camp

    Salam is correct to point out that we can’t lead everywhere. The Libyan people have to lead their revolution. They asked us for help, and we’re giving it, but this is their job.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

  • Anonymous

    Obama has shown how cowardly he is on Healthcare by allowing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to lead because Obama wouldn’t, Obama let France Lead on the Libya issue.

    • David

      That was by design on that one. Trying to make it look like other countries are taking the lead. The reality is we are the leaders in this.

      • Anonymous

        If this is and example of Obama’s leadership, it looks very badly on his leadership skills. He allowed the rebel fighters to be slaughtered for over 30 days before taking the French into leading the way. By the time the French acted the majority of the opposition forces were killed and now they have almost no chance to implement any change to the government of the country since their numbers are so low and they have been so disappointed by the lack of support from the US

        • David

          The goal is not to help the rebel fighters. The goal is to control the oil.

          • Anonymous

            You may be right but didn’t Obama and his friends say the same thing about Iraq? and they were not talking about it in a good way! LOL

        • Cory

          How the hell do you know “the majority of the opposition forces were killed”. I think you are either reciting Limbaugh talking points, or blabbing out your backside.

      • Anonymous

        agree w/ David. A wise move, as we have continually been the “lead” in such places as Afghanistan and Iraq, and other allies eventually resent and question us as those goals proved questionable. When you read the criticisms, it seems either Obama didn’t move fast and/or aggressive enough, or he moved without Congressional debate (and considering most R’s stated goals to “just say no” to everything he proposes, one has to wonder how much support to the UN edit we’d ever offer.)

  • Anonymous

    If Obama was a leader he would have stated what the goals of the mission in Libya were

    • Glen Beck

      Are you paying attention, trying to learn something, or are you just chiming in with a biased ignorance that reads like conservative talk radio sounds. God Bless America!

      • Anonymous

        I learn very little from NPR since most of the discussions are superficial and by non experts . I do much research outside of this format unlike many people posting here.

        • Cory

          How the hell do you know what other posters do or research? You learn very little because you are a close-minded consrvative who is sure you know best how the world should work.

    • Zeno

      Yeah right! and have McCain jump on the remarks as letting the enemy knowing your plans.

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t the U.N. do that? Weren’t we just supporting the UN?

      • Anonymous

        Germans pull forces out of NATO; Libyan coalition falls apart…
        Allies in disarray…
        DER SPIEGEL: Coalition of the Unwilling…
        OBAMA: No ground troops, no matter what happens…
        Redefines ‘exit strategy’…
        French PM: ‘We are not at war’…
        Costs, mission unclear…
        Also backing the rebels — al Qaeda…

        According to the headlines above…NO

  • Analyst_NH

    Domestically, Barrack needs to pull the rug out from under the Republican strategists by undermining their fundamental tactics: the use of Republican mythology, harnessing anger with disingenous rhetoric which will not serve the contituency and Framing. They need to be pounded for flip flopping: repeatedly assuming positions just to block Democratic proposals, even when such positions were supported by Republicans two years earlier.

    At a time when America is still wavering from a near economic meltdown, and so many millions of people have lost there homes and jobs, such disengenous political manipulation is anti-patriotic as it undermines America’s recover.

    Obama’s strategy will have to be executed and coordinated at every level, from news media channels, to the rhetoric of low and mid-level operatives to the President himself.

  • David

    If Bush and Obama did unconstitutional acts they should have been and should be impeached.

    Laugh all you want like it’s absurd, but we know there is no rule of law anymore in this country for the criminal rich and the lackeys in government to serve them.

  • Anna

    The President is an intelligent man – a thinker. He doesn’t react, he calculates, then excutes. That is not to say he cannot make decisions in the moment, but Libya is not the only matter at hand. And, we don’t know what Mr. Obama knows – as a matter of nation security, that’s the way its supposed to be.

    Its easy to sit there and bluster ‘he shoulda did this’ and ‘he shoulda did that’ without having ALL the facts in any situation. People need to stop being backseat politicans and let the man do his job.

    • Anonymous

      This is an illustration of how Americans tend not to like thinkers as their leaders.

      • Cory

        Yup, they prefer the Decider over thinkers. I think the best and most appropriate political slogan ever is the one that promises “a chicken in every pot”. This is what the American people REALLY want.

        • Zing

          Not according to the voters in your state…

    • LinP

      How much more does he need to THINK about:

      The millions who remain without health care in this country
      The millions who are now living below the poverty line
      The millions who need jobs
      The fact that we will never be free from the tyranny of foreign oil
      The fact that our infrastructure is crumbling
      The fact that he has allowed the fringe right to control the narrative
      The fact that there is still no REAL regulation anywhere or consumer protection
      The fact that the banks are back to predatory practices
      The fact that we are living in another gilded age with no end in sight
      The fact that the right wants to crush the middle class (never mind the poor)
      And on and on and on…

      How much MORE time does he need to ponder helping US? WE the people who really need it, who want a fair society, and who deserve a fair chance to raise our children, have jobs, and someday retire.

      If he wins the next election and no longer has to worry about filling his campaign coffers? Is that when?

  • Hickssj

    Obama isn’t taking us to into another war and that is a good thing. I’m thankful for that. We are supporting an effort to avoid a terrible loss of life. This is a good thing. I don’t mind helping, but we don’t need to be in front on everything.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. It’s impossible to read through the comments and not see a lot of efforts, particularly on the right, to find a scenario that fits their ideology.

    If all this is getting your goat, there’s an interesting, sometimes scary, often hopeful discussion about rebuilding America on the Diane Rehm show at this same hour. It’s about what we can do. It’s a good antidote for rancor and complaining and general passive partisan wankery.

  • Anonymous

    Chuck Hagel was interviewed (on your show?) back when Obama was trying to pick a VP. He was stepping down. One of his major gripes was when then Pres. Bush asked congress for permission to invade Iraq “if needed,” Hagel said when he called his buds at the Pentagon, they said the troops were already on the way; Bush’s “request” was just a formality. He had already given the order to invade. I commend Obama for keeping the US out of the forefront until the UN sanctioned a “no fly” zone, and others also joined in the air strikes. Had the US taken a more pro-active stance, we would have added fuel to the already burning anti-US fire in the MidEast. Obama kept his mouth shut, didn’t make a lot of posturing (except to protest killing of civilians), and did an air strike. I do not believe we have declared war on Lybia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jwoellhof Jesse Woellhof

    Obama sent his War Powers Act notice to congress yesterday, within 48 hours of hostilities as stated by law. Hostilities must cease after 60 days if Congress does not approve. This is how lawful and just intervention happens, thank god. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/21/letter-president-regarding-commencement-operations-libya)

    • Jediinvestor72

      I think you are mistaken. He is in violation of the the act, as we are not being attacked or under serious threat. This is outrageous!! Congress should have debated on this war.

      The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) was a United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States is already under attack or serious threat. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.

  • George A

    While I understand that the US must be involved in the action in Libya because of the need for future oil. We don’t want to alienate the potential future leaders in Libya who could cut us off from their exports if we didn’t support them when they needed help.
    In this time of lagging exports, the one thing America is known for exporting is death & destruction.

    • Anonymous

      We get most of our oil from Canada and Mexico. Our concern for this strategic resource is to keep the world supply stable. Isn’t that a legitimate goal?

      • Anonymous

        Besides, can’t we have more than one goal in what we do? The world is more complex than single-interest groups.

      • Anonymous

        yes it is. We should also have the goal to tap our own recourses in the gulf before the rest of the world steals them in international waters. Did anyone notice that Brazil’s nationalized oil company got the 1st big permit since Obama shut down the gulf? Why did a Brazilian company get it instead of a US company?

        • Cory

          It really doesn’t matter which company drills for the oil, it is all sold on the world market anyway. This is also the reason why we shouldn’t be in too big a hurry to “drill baby drill” in every corner of the US.

        • Zeno

          You know the answer to this! Yet every time you post this same remark about domestic production. Why?

          There is no such thing as domestic pricing. It all belongs to the corporation that extracts it. The remittance is the same for all companies be they US or Brazil.

          Brazil has an excellent record in deep water drilling, and will be a preferred partner for ethanol.

      • nj

        No we don’t. “We get most of our oil from Canada and Mexico.”

        A bit less than half.


  • Hickssj

    Congress is hopeless. I’d like to see leadership there. The president is rather limited as to what he can accomplish there. Critique of the president is all well and good. I’d like to see some helpful, realistic suggestions. The folks participating in On Point’s discussion are intelligent I’m sure with that much talent in the ‘room’ we could get some good workable suggestions on how to make headway on the issues facing our country and the world.

  • Anonymous

    So the big problems are kicked down the road till 2012? Haven’t we been doing that for decades? If Obama gets a second term, he’ll then keep kicking things down the road, until he’s a lame duck, and Congress will do the same until the 2016 election.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

    • Michael

      Good new for the right, 2016 Clinton will run and the republicans may have a chance to beat her, than they can kick the can down the road, have a couple more tax cuts for the rich further increase the debt while claiming reagans voodoo economic will finally work this time.

    • Cory

      All the presidents since Reagan have been kicking it down the road.

  • 1basketball

    What a joke. your usual range of comentators ranging from right of center to majorly rignt wing. And, of course, taking a second to make a snide comment about one of the few progressive congresspersons.
    The check is definitely NOT in the mail. In fact, its going to anyone voting to defund government radio.

  • Anonymous

    Why did Obama always say we were in the worst recession since the great depression when at the beginning of his term, we were only in the worst depression since the early 1980′s? Is this because Obama wanted to act in the opposite fashion than what Reagan did in the 1980′s while hoping it will have the same result?

  • http://twitter.com/paddymacjr Pat Barrett

    Speaking of leading from the front or leading from the back: There seems to be a continual cycle in the news, ever since the Democratic primaries. There always comes a time when Obama drops back and assess the situation, and the press freaks out, and says, “He’s inscrutable! Where’s he going? What’s he doing? What’s he thinking??” Then, in a flurry of activity over no more than two weeks, he comes out, in control and makes things happen. He’s prosaic, yes, but he actually gets things done.

  • Fran

    Nonsense; the commentators remarks such as “Obama’s Chaotic Years” “No exit Strategy” O is “bobbing and weaving” “use ground forces – if we are in for a dime, we should be in for a dollar” Face it: The world is chaotic, O is leading on many fronts; no need for us to have “exit strategy/use ground forces” Guests are saying these things. I say: Americans know the USAs Goals: Unite Globally, Protect Libyans, and “Khadafi must Go.” The media should stop raising iffy, tentative and ‘bobbing & weaving’ queries; need to stress Obama’s strengths and if media doesn’t know them, well, reread the above goals. BTW: If we go in for a dime and dollar next step nuking? that is so ridiculous. Diplomacy 1st, talking openly next, joining together globally, then acting together. That is the path Obama has taken. I taught Leadership and Decisionmaking for 20 years and believe O has thought, reasoned together and active within the strength of a fine Leader

  • twenty-niner

    The good news is that Obama recently completed his 60th round of golf, and if he’s on the golf course, he he’ll be less likely to transfer more strategic technology to China such as avionics and high-efficiency gas turbines. If he starts playing three times a day, we might be able to make it two more years.

    • Ecy7

      So….he plays a round of golf roughly once every other week. I bet that lazy President eats three times a day too!

  • Anonymous

    President Obama made a statement last week that the president of Libya must go and then on Saturday and Sunday he said the goal of the mission was not to remove the president of Libya but to protect the Libyan people. What kind of leader leads with contradictory statements in less than 1 week?

    • Zeno

      IMO there is no conflict in his statement here, just a failure to interpret the actual plan. (Bush 1 had the same plan, and it was a good one.)

      Don’t create a martyr to US imperial power by taking out the leader directly, just weaken the power structure around him and let the people take their revenge.

  • Rachel

    I haven’t listened to the broadcast yet because it isn’t available online right now – however, something I was upset about:

    Obama recently stated while on tour in Brazil that he wants the US to be the major buyer of their oil supply.

    What the hell happened to us being the leaders in new forms of clean energy? This isn’t leading, this is going through the same motions we have been going through for years. The supply of oil is limited. Where is our innovation for new energy?

    It is so disheartening to see the US falling behind the rest of the world because politicians have an agenda – to keep themselves in office and make money. They get all the people to argue amongst themselves so we won’t notice what’s really going on. Keep everyone fighting and they won’t see the real problems.

    Yes I voted for Obama. And yes, I’m very disappointed so far.

    • Anonymous

      Rachel: Have you stopped driving? Refused to fly in a gas- gulper? How many petroleum-based products do you buy and use without giving it a second thought?

      Is it a matter of waiting for someone else to do it and in the meantime blaming it on whatever leader happens to be in the hot seat?

      • Rachel

        I take the train to work – live in Chicago for the reason of not having to drive. Lived in LA and hated all the driving. I’m also a vegetarian and have been for 18 years because of the pressure meat production puts on the earth. Oh…and I recycle, put in energy saving appliances and bulbs so Prairie maybe you should ask before you condemn.

        I have the right to question the administration I voted for when I have done all of these things myself, but our nation as a whole hasn’t. I don’t have the ability to come up with an alternative source of energy to supply a nation nor does any one person. The President ran on the platform of change which included a new form of clean energy, but that change isn’t happening when he wants to find new places to buy oil from.

  • bg

    If today’s On Point reflects the direction of future NPR shows, I’ll be looking for another station. Could it be that the threat by Congress to withdraw funding is already having its desired effect? Sure sounds like it! Today’s show was clearly right wing and not-so-subtly disrespectful of our President.
    BTW with 2 wars, engagement in Lybia, a tanked economy (thanks to the Republicans), Japan coping with crisis and tragedy, I am so grateful we have a commander-in-chief who has a brain and thinks before he acts. Refreshing!
    “Critiquing” President Obama at this time was in poor taste, and certainly Fox-TV like in style.

    • David

      NPR has been rather Right Wing for years now.

      Bush took care of that.

      The Right loves to say how liberal it is. Just another propaganda lie from the corporate fascists in this country.

      • Anonymous

        You need your head examined. How did you come to your conclusion that NPR is right wing? What is your best example of a good middle of the road news organization?

        • David

          Have to get middle of the road news from outside the borders of the propaganda state of the US.

          • Anonymous

            Where exactly?

    • bean

      We agree!

      And, where are the jobs the Republicans and Tea Party candidates promised?

    • twenty-niner

      I’m not completely critical of Obama. I believe his golf handicap has improved markedly since taking office. I’ve heard it’s around 16, not bad for a president.

      Dan Quayle seems to be impressed as well:

      “Quayle defends Obama’s golf habit”


    • joy

      Think Progress is right wing? George Soros and John Podesta will be surprised to hear that! Come on, get your head out of your you-know-what!
      You cannot get any more left than Think Progress.
      They have been the primary source of all the hit pieces on the Koch brothers.
      You might be more far left than you are giving yourself credit!
      Good luck finding left wing talking points to your liking. Have you tried MSNBC

  • Richard Jay

    As one voter and taxpayer, I think President Obama is done the best job a president could do, given the handicap of the Congress, the disinterest of the general pulbic, and the reluctance of the taxpayers to make cuts in entitlements and make improvements in the tax code.

    But as regards acting in Libya, anyone that has been in the military, it is usually stupid to tell you enemy and freinds of your enemy what the game plan is. Secrecy is a critical and essential part of military strategy. While the President may share such secrets with a few ltrusted leaders in Congress, he must have the confidence in those leaders that the shared secrets remain secret, until at least a combat engagement has been completed. To be a secret, this means that the leaders reveal nothing except to the extend allowed by the president as provided by the laws applying to matters of secrecy. Violations, I think, are probably impeachible offenses.

    I think President Obama’s decision to not act until there was an endorsement from the UN and had at minimum verbal commitments from other NATO countries was prudent. I wish could have acted sooner, but going it alone would not have been wise. Of course using 20/20 hidesight, we all can say he should’ha and could’ha, however that presumes we are wiser and better informed than he. And no way do I believe that.

  • Jim in Omaha

    People like Brandstad and Greg Camp obviously disagree, but it is not the “leadership” we need when you marshal the force of a bunch of uninformed, ignorant fools to get them to back your program of invading other countries at great expense while at the same time making it an article of faith to refuse to pay for or make any personal sacrifice toward that effort, guaranteeing huge debt, all the while ignoring the real economic and health care needs of our citizens and promoting the enrichment of the top few percent at the expense of everyone else. At the same time, tell those ignorant fools they are the greatest who ever lived, true patriots.

    Here’s what I would like a leader to do: Call upon Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowicz, Bush, Kagan, and the rest of their neocon sycophants, to actually go to the places they have screwed up and, if need be, give what’s left of their lives to clean up the mess they have made.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t exactly know what I have to do with your post, but I do agree with some parts of your post. If we could wait 30 days while the rebels were being slaughtered and there was no direct threat to the US, we could have stood on the sidelines.

      If Obama was a leader, he would have made a statement within 7 days of the start of the killing in Libya either in support of the Libyan dictator or in support of the rebels. If in support of the rebels, he should have helped them within 2 weeks of the start of the rebellion and if in support of Libyan dictator we should have staid on the sidelines and watched.

      We can’t afford to be the worlds policeman anymore. Especially since no one appreciates it.

  • Kurt

    Amazing how President Obama’s leadership could be discussed without mentioning the R- word. As the first African American president, he’s had to contend with people here in the US arming themselves big time and stating outright that they will work in every possible way (hinting at armed resistance) to defeat anything he wants to do!

    The leadership the president has shown–thoughtful consideration of a variety of viewpoints and information sources, trying to include those even who are outright opposed to him personally, and focusing on shoring up the economy by tackling the biggest drain in families and small businesses–the lack of affordable health care–in his first year or so–has been nothing short of brilliant! NO other president–not FDR, not Clinton, Nixon, Ford, or the Bushes–did it. Obama DID. We are not used to seeing a president who truly believes in nonpartisanship. He REALLY DOES think in shades of PURPLE, not RED or BLUE states, and he refuses to buy into the hatefulness on both sides all around him.

    He leans way too far to the right for my tastes, but the man is doing a superhuman job in escaping the minefields laid out for him by his skin color and background. He can’t get too angry, or he’s the dreaded “angry black man.” He can’t get too far left, or he’s a “socialist.” He can’t get too far right or help banks not put the country into a bigger depression, or “he’s not black enough and doesn’t care about poor folk.” He can’t help inner cities without “just helping his own.”

    He’s smart and capable. Working out a UN agreement and helping in Libya via a coalition is absolutely correct. It’s not for the US to figure it all out–it’s a UN effort, and let the French and British work out the ending, for once.

    The American Revolution needed the help of Belgian and Dutch bankers, and military help from the French and Poles (Lafayette and Kosciuzko). And thank God for help, since overthrowing an oppressive regime and trying to establish a democracy with just populist support is nigh on impossible. Helping revolutionaries to overthrow dictators without ticking off their allies or your own should not be rushed into. If we’d taken the lead on Libya, all the Muslim world would be lining up right now to find the next thing here to blow up. If we stood aside, as we did with the Hungarian revolution, would that have generated any more good will among the people there, either?

    Obama has played the cards just about right–a little quicker would have been nice, but footdragging by the other UN countries no doubt played a big part in the slowdown. Even Obama’s leaving for his planned trip was the right thing–it underscored the fact that help for Libya is a side issue, NOT a third war theater for the US. Once the Libyan military bases and equipment are wiped out, let UN forces police the rest.

    Obama’s problem is the American people. We are not used to a President who thinks things through before being “the decider.” Obama’s leads after consulting with those who have more information. What’s not to like? Like Wyatt Earp, he takes good aim and shoots straight and in time.

    • twenty-niner

      Sometimes its hard to be a woman
      Giving all your love to just one man
      You’ll have bad times
      And he’ll have good times
      Doing things that you don’t understand
      But if you love him you’ll forgive him
      Even though he’s hard to understand
      And if you love him
      Oh be proud of him
      ‘Cause after all he’s just a man
      Stand by your man
      Give him two arms to cling to
      And something warm to come to
      When nights are cold and lonely
      Stand by your man
      And tell the world you love him
      Keep giving all the love you can
      Stand by your man
      Stand by your man
      And show the world you love him
      Keep giving all the love you can
      Stand by your man

    • mary

      Please stop insulting people by using the racist card. It says more about you than anything else.

  • Anonymous

    Nobel Committee asked to strip Obama of Peace Prize

    The Bolivian President and a Russian political leader have launched a campaign to revoke Obama’s honour after the US attacked Libya.

    This must be because of Obama’s lack of leadership.

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/304909#ixzz1HLRyZ9HC

    • Cory

      Oh no!!! Not that!!!

  • Macdonald

    I think President Obama intervened in Libya very cleverly: he basically told Europe, its your turn this time, its in your backyard and its Libya’s oil that you depend on. So get off your butts and take the lead on this one, if you do, we will help you out. Exit strategy? That’s Europe’s problem, not ours, its their operation.

    • twenty-niner

      Their operation?

      Unfortunately, the bombs being dropped are American, which is what gets televised to the Arab street. Also, are the Europeans funding this one as well? 124 tomahawks at $1 to $1.5 million a pop puts just the first night’s cruise missile total at $124 million plus.


  • Joseph Garred

    I consider this to be the micro-machinations of the end of colonialist powers. The US president is purposely offering humanitarian help while not wanting to interfere with internal politics. The loud domestic criticisim of his actions are mostly political campaigning. Let the man do his job.

    • David

      I can’t comprehend how 110 cruise missiles directed at a country qualifies as humanitarian help. Maybe in your alternate universe of no-bid cost-plus military contacts it does.

    • twenty-niner

      Yes, we are on a tight schedule. At least one oil-producing Arabian country will be hit by American bombs every ten years.

      …To help overthrow a brutal dictator.

      • twenty-niner

        Time for a peace prize.

  • Michael

    worth a read,
    washingtonpost com /opinions/in-the-mideast-useful-and-non-useful-tyrants/2011/03/21/ABeWu38_story.html

    In a very well-argued column, The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson today provides the only plausible answer:

    Anyone looking for principle and logic in the attack on Moammar Gaddafi’s tyrannical regime will be disappointed. . . . Why is Libya so different? Basically, because the dictators of Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia — also Jordan and the Persian Gulf sheikdoms, for that matter — are friendly, cooperative and useful. Gaddafi is not. . . .

    Gaddafi is crazy and evil; obviously, he wasn’t going to listen to our advice about democracy. The world would be fortunate to be rid of him. But war in Libya is justifiable only if we are going to hold compliant dictators to the same standard we set for defiant ones. If not, then please spare us all the homilies about universal rights and freedoms. We’ll know this isn’t about justice, it’s about power.

  • Michael

    as well,

    salon com /news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/22/libya/index.html

    But what I cannot understand at all is how people are willing to believe that the U.S. Government is deploying its military and fighting this war because, out of abundant humanitarianism, it simply cannot abide internal repression, tyranny and violence against one’s own citizens. This is the same government that enthusiastically supports and props up regimes around the world that do exactly that, and that have done exactly that for decades.

    By all accounts, one of the prime administration advocates for this war was Hillary Clinton; she’s the same person who, just two years ago, said this about the torture-loving Egyptian dictator: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.” They’re the same people overseeing multiple wars that routinely result in all sorts of atrocities. They are winking and nodding to their Yemeni, Bahrani and Saudi friends who are doing very similar things to what Gadaffi is doing, albeit (for now) on a smaller scale. They just all suddenly woke up one day and decided to wage war in an oil-rich Muslim nation because they just can’t stand idly by and tolerate internal repression and violence against civilians? Please.

    • twenty-niner

      Read the article as well. Standby for the ground forces, which will be needed to “stabilize” the situation. We’ve all seen what “no fly zones” ultimately lead to.

  • Gene1936

    We have two classes of forecasters: those who don’t know – and those who don’t know the don’t know (J.K. Galbraith).
    In my experience, the same applies to experts.
    That is why I believe only to what my brain tells me ant not what other people say. However I do listen, compare and check if statements are consistent or not, i.e. if the person making the statement has his/her brain engaged. I am not an expert, just a person who has run its brain at 4000 rpm, like a Ferrari, since age 9 when in Italy, occupied by the nazis, invaded by the US and ravaged by civil war. At that time brain rpm had a lot to do with survival. Now let us look at some facts:
    1. WW I and WW II have caused horrendous casualties and destruction, therefore WW III is being fought in a totally different way (yes folks, you might not have noticed it, but WW III is raging; some of its battles are named Lebanon, Bosnia, Afganistan, Iraq, and North Africa).
    2. The muslim world is in an explosive condition: power in the hands of clergy with middle ages thinking, angry young folks aware of 20th century and women widely abused.
    3. The fundamental dangers of Islam are the notions of jihad (holy war) and that ethical behaviour is obligatory only towards fellow muslims but irrelevant in relationships with infidels (read the Quran).
    4. US, Europe, Russia, India and China have muslim populations and a common interest in preventing jihad, but due to ideological and economic competition have not yet recognized the need for unity and cooperation.
    5. The US have been induced to fight a war (Iraq) for the benefit of Oil companies but with the end result most likely for the benefit of Iran. This is a forecast and I know that I don’t know, so I am still uncertain.
    6. A nation that has caused trouble for Israel and the US in the middle east is Siria; I expected G. W. Bush to invade it from Iraq and settle the issue, but I was wrong because that implied a long range rational planning by the US decision makers that have instead demonstrated limited use of their brains.
    *** Now consider Libya.
    1. Libya has enormous strategic importance: in the middle of the southern coast of the Mediterranen sea; Gaddafy can “see the Suez canal from his porch”.
    2. So far the president has given no indication of taking decisions on the basis of emotion or political expediency, so for the time being I believe his administration is taking rational decisons and I try to guess what is the rational for US government behaviour.
    3. If it is not known who the rebels are or who will control the country in the end, the rational for intervention is to obliterate its armed forces, that are reported, by european press, to have currently some capabilities superior to those of France and Geat Britain (russsian weapons). This could not be done by France and Great Britain without likely unacceptable losses, hence the US intervention. It is also possible that the US is once more fighting someone else war, it depends on how much you trust the european allies.
    4. In the middle of a war (WW III), it is stupid to request the commander in chief to make public his next military move: Pearl Harbor has shown dramatically the enormous advantage of surprise. Did the US advertise beforehand the landing in Normandy or the Hiroshima A-bomb? Hints of what was in the making were clear in the words of Secretary of Defense (War is now a better term) Gates.
    5. The need to know of the general population is based on the addiction to TV entertainment.
    6. In WW III the need for action/reaction has a dynamic with time scales much shorter than conventional wars (WW II kind). The need to know of Congress is based on the Constitution, but it can only be addressed if the issue of speed of response involving Congress is resolved.
    7. A quite stupid activity is to attack the president at a time when his brain and those of most of his administration should concentrate on issues of substantial importance, like war, economy, planning, without having tot waste brain power to address distractions due to political bickering and experts radio/TV shows. This is a time for the nation to be united: vote and choose your representatives, but once elected accept them and be disciplined, until next election cycle, which, during emergencies, should be restricted to 6 months.
    *** My observation of the US population behaviour makes me think that the current irrational view of the issues of fundamental importance for the evolution of the nation will continue as usual. Eventually the attitude of the population will change, and its behaviour will become more rational, but I think the time scale is such that I will not see it happen. As I said before, I am not an expert, so I am not automatically wrong, there is a finite chance that my ideas might have a little value. It happened before.

  • Markus

    I haven’t questioned the fact that Obama’s a strong leader since the health care bill went through. I think he’s shown leadership in this war too – not easy making the decision to attack another country. Also, it’s very possible that he knows this is a politically poor decision, in which case he’s shown a lot of guts. I even appreciate the fact that he seems to think about things before acting. Ironically, Bush was the same way – he waited for Congress to back him and for many UN resolutions to go through.

    My only problem is I think Obama, like Bush, makes terrible decisions. 14 Trillion in debt, 2 simultaneous wars and we pick a fight with another Arab country. I’ve always thought he did things like this because he lacks any real world experience. But it might be that, like Bush, he’s not all that bright.

  • Rino Angelini

    Except for rare moments of extraordinary insight, I think it’s time to stop giving undue airtime to voices on the far right and the far left when comprehensive discussion of the facts is most important. When a decision like the President’s is made with the ‘international community’ and Obama gets criticism from Kucinich and Rand Paul that he should not have acted [for totally different reasons], and criticism from the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham that he did not act quickly enough, it’s time to stop listening to the 10 – 15 % at each extreme – Tea Partiers and Left Wing Dreamers, and to listen to the 70% of the American Public who support the action of the United Nations in these troubled times of massacres by despotic leaders and not second guess the President but now simply wants the best minds in the country to help solve this problem and add another “Democratic Front” in the middle East. I heard better insight from Negreponte and the guest on Fresh Air today.

    The Afghan military effort was legitimate but abandoned; the Iraq war was illegitimate; this effort will give the correct message to all Middle East leaders and to all lovers of Freedom in the middle East.

    We can’t announce the complete goal of a mission like this No Fly Zone; no one knows how this will turn out; but it will turn out better I think if NPR, On Point, Fresh Air, MSNBC, FOX, etc. seek voices of common sense middle American wisdom, not the strident voices on the Far Right and Far Left, except in those moments of extraordinary insight; some people just don’t deserve all the air time they get.

    • twenty-niner

      the Iraq war was illegitimate

      No, it wasn’t. It was stupid but anything but illegitimate. Gulf War 1 had only ended with a cease fire, which Hussein had violated on numerous occasions, any one of which providing the legal basis from which to resume hostilities.

      • Andy

        You have to be kidding me. The international community pretty much had the guy contained. The only mistake was not supporting the Kurds in ’91. Any objective reading of the history of the Invasion in 2003 shows that the neocons in charge were pushing for the war and used 911 as a pretext. Realpolitik was that Iraq was a counterweight to Iran. Now look where we are.

        • twenty-niner

          I don’t disagree. I was referring to the legal terms of the cease fire, which Saddam violated routinely. To reiterate what I plainly wrote in my comment:


      • Longview

        Twenty-niner, I read all your comments, and I don’t understand your seemingly contradictory positions. Killing tens to hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Iraq war was ok, but supporting European action to prevent a slaughter in Libya is not ok? Do you just like Bush better than Obama for other reasons?

        I agree with Macdonald and Joseph Garred– keep our domestic politics out of this, and let Obama do his job.

        Each Middle Eastern country is different. For example, Bahrain has a sectarian struggle going on, while Libya does not but is tribal. We should help and encourage each country down the right path, but we must stay out of their affairs as much as we can, so that they will stop focusing on us as intruders, and focus instead on self-determination of their own futures.

        Meanwhile, we need to focus our attention on how we can develop clean homegrown energy sources so that what happens in the Middle East no longer drives our future.

        • twenty-niner

          You didn’t read my comment very well. I said, “It was stupid” – referring to the Iraq war.

          And before we go to war anywhere, let’s see how much genuine support there is from the American people. In other words, how much more in taxes are we willing to pay to fund these conflicts. My guess: zero.

          • Longview

            Great, we agree.

          • Zing

            Give me ten nucular bombs, I and I will give you world peace…put ‘em on my tab

      • Zing

        In war there is no substitute for victory

    • seventy-fiver

      Wars are neither legitimate nor illegitimate, they are always abominable and should be avoided. Sometimes they happen whether you like it or not. President Obama said in an interview during his campaign that the agenda for the president is set 90% by circumstances and 10 % by his choice: quite clearly he has a brain and he uses it.

  • Michael

    “After the exchange with the soothsayer, Caesar is offered the crown three times and refuses each time, even though the people are cheering for him to accept the emperorship.”

    Sounds like the U.S. claims on having a NFZ

  • Lon in Appleton, WI

    Here in Wisconsin one of the many unfulfilled campaign promises of the President was that he would stand on the picket line for worker justice.

    We looked all over and didn’t see the president in support of the protest against the Governor Walker Repair the Budget Bill which eliminates collective bargaining rights for state workers.

    But he seems to have plenty of time to go to South America — where few people want to see him at all.

  • Anonymous

    Rachel — I was asking! All those questions marks! But I take your point and admire you for being among the few who actually do what needs to be done.

    Obama deserves some criticism. When one looks, however, at the obstacles and opposition the president has been obliged to deal with and the less than solid support he’s had from those who cheered him right into office, it’s difficult to work up a froth about his inability — in two years! — to come up with an alternative source of energy.

    Not one of the issues he has to deal with is simple and clear. Everyone of them is rife with grey areas, pitfalls, and a raft of lobbyists working against him on behalf of powerful business interests. Many of the president’s most important goals have been simply declared “off the table” by a do-nothing Congress and by an opposition so deafened by its own rude shouting that it is now cut off from reality.

  • Bruce Guindon

    I understand that any person given the script Mr. Obama has had to perform would not do as well, having said that I find the President soft and slow to act on a host of issues, Health care, the economy and war other than that he seems to resemble a old time Rebuplican such as Nixon. I think he will win in 2012 and sweep in a new group of Democrats to regain control of both houses

  • Michael

    Interesting take by Stephen M. Walt,

    During the Q & A, I talked about the narrowness of foreign policy debate in Washington and the close political kinship between the liberal interventionists of the Democratic Party and the neoconservatives that dominate the GOP. At one point, I said that “liberal inteventionists are just ‘kinder, gentler’ neocons, and neocons are just liberal interventionsts on steroids.”

    in case you hadn’t noticed, over the weekend President Obama took the nation to war against Libya, largely on the advice of liberal interventionists like Ambassador Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NSC aides Samantha Power and Michael McFaul. According to several news reports I’ve read, he did this despite objections from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

    The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance. Both groups extol the virtues of democracy, both groups believe that U.S. power — and especially its military power — can be a highly effective tool of statecraft. Both groups are deeply alarmed at the prospect that WMD might be in the hands of anybody but the United States and its closest allies, and both groups think it is America’s right and responsibility to fix lots of problems all over the world. Both groups consistently over-estimate how easy it will be to do this, however, which is why each has a propensity to get us involved in conflicts where our vital interests are not engaged and that end up costing a lot more than they initially expect.

    walt. foreignpolicy com /posts/2011/03/21/what_intervention_in_libya_tells_us_about_the_neocon_liberal_alliance

  • Ehaas

    The fight in Libya is not to free the people. The coalition forces could not care less what will happen to the Libyans. Finally on your brodcast Tuesday one of the gernalist let the cat out of the bag, all this is for the control of the Libyan oil. The french are in the driving seat. They do not want the Italians on the deal. We should not forget that the late A, Hammer had strong deals with Mr Gaddafy so there still is great american interest.The French,Italian and the USA. will not have any objection if Gaddafy stays in power. The Libyans do not have anybody how can lead the country. Erwin

  • joe

    President Obama is in violation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 as we are not being attacked or under serious threat. This is outrageous!! Congress should have debated on this war. I want representation and discussion.

    The War Powers Resolution of 1973 (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) was a United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States is already under attack or serious threat. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.

  • david

    How do you describe Obama as a leader??
    I would call it a Chameleon style leadership, that is, he changes as the conditions or surroundings change.
    The humanitarian excuse for this attack is hypocritical because it only applies to certain nations and peoples, while other lesser peoples can go on being slaughtered by their leaders.
    What is the real reason for Libya being more important than others???
    Candidate Obama blasted Bush for this same intervention, by-passing congress, what has changed, Chameleon leadership!
    A marine labeled van with US tag and military dressed men crossed the Mex/US border into Cal. Problem, they were illegals!!!!

  • Dma66

    I was astonished to hear David Gergen say that President Obama did not build this coalition, but Pres. G H W Bush was the model. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The UN vote was in late November, and the war began in January 1991. For Gergen to criticize Obama for being slow because it took 10 days to see what was unfolding and then shift to supporting, even leading, the no-fly zone based on the Gulf War experience is absurd. Once again, it is easy to criticize thinking and always cheer for quick action. Until, of course, quick action goes terribly wrong.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Gergen’s comments on the budget debate were absurd. The GOP hasn’t changed stripes & the Simpson cat food commission ‘recommendations’ were never accepted by the whole committee.

    + the fact that SocSec has no bearing on the budget due to its separate tax support.

  • Floyd

    Does the President’s leadership remind me of any previous President? Yes, absolutely- Jimmy Carter. Like Carter, Obama believes his personality and passive manner are a substitute for leadership and strong decision making, and like Carter, he is assumed by America’s foes to be a weakling.

  • Michael MacDonald

    Everyone has a complaint. 1. We should have intervened “weeks ago” (John McCain). Demonstrations against Ghadafi began five weeks ago; Benghazi was taken (more or less) by the rebels four weeks ago. Events moved very fast; how much faster could a coalition have been assembled and military action prepared, realistically? 2. There is no exit strategy and Obama has been changing course. Given the rapidity with which unpredictable changes have taken place in the Middle East, how long could any exit strategy articulated now be maintained? Besides, the call for exit strategies, given the unpredictable dynamics of military actions, is actually little more than a way of saying “I don’t like it.” You hear it every time the US takes military action anywhere in the world, and with a few exceptions it is a way of demanding a prediction that critics can later attack.

    I do not in general support American interventions in far away nations, but it seems to me obvious that unlike (say) the situation in the Sudan, this was a case in which multinational action was possible but was bound to provoke a storm of protest from politicians and pundits. Witness your program. Obama deserves more credit for the decision he made and less carping over how long he took to make it and the gender of the advisers who urged him to act.


  • fredlinskip

    If the role president Obama played in averting a 2nd Great Depression were to be his only accomplishment, this alone would justify 2nd term presidency. After 8 years of policy which brought nation to brink of 2nd Great Depression , I would think it might be time to chart another course. Yet GOP have not only made no attempt, they have blocked and discredited every initiative, including abuse of filibuster rule so for first time in history it’s now standard practice that over 60% of Senate must agree to even allow debate. Is this what founders intended?
    Isn’t it odd entire board of directors at Fox is EXACTLY same as Wall St journal? Could there just possibly be conflict of interest? I know this is going out on limb, but is it conceivable that Wall street might have an agenda that Fox helps promote? Could there be a better tool for conservative think tanks to attempt to mold public opinion?
    Isn’t it odd that Tea Party is so against government oversight and regulation, the lack of which is directly implicated in the financial collapse? Or that they believe that cutting taxes for wealthiest, currently sitting on unprecedented reserves, will promote job creation? Wonder where they think the trillions we’ve borrowed for past 10 years went? Doubt it’s being burned in brush piles. In any slightly fair system our economy would be booming. W, even though elected by minority, acted on mandate from God to divide country, alienate world, and funnel the country’s present and future treasure to privileged few.
    How well did Fox cover the story of “K street project” when through various strongarm tactics (many still in practice), GOP attempted to establish “permanent majority”?
    It’s frightening to imagine the possibility that a large percent of Americans might allow Fox to be primary source of information. Sure watch Fox “News”- there is free speech after all, and we all need entertainment now and then, but I pray they can see they are not being wholly informed.
    Without an informed public, there is no Democracy.
    Plutocracy and organizations that promote it (such as Fox), in my humble opinion, seem a greater threat to American way of life than threat of terrorism (both real and imagined) ever was.

    • Gregg

      Obama has run the economy into the ground. He didn’t bring us back from the brink of squat. This is Obama’s economy. These are Obama’s wars. This mess is Obama’s doing.

    • William

      So the main failure of the Bush years with the economy was overspending and cheap credit. Which is what we still have today, except on a much larger scale in government spending.

      • ThresherK

        Uh, and tax cuts that would never pay for themselves, tilted heavily to the rich. But hey, I don’t know who here expects you to acknowledge that.

    • Jo

      “averting a 2nd Great Depression” – yea we were this close(thumb and finger a half inch apart) to everyone standing in mile long bread lines!
      Give everyone a break with that delusion!
      Of course, there is no blame for Pelosi and Reid and the democrats who led Congress for the last four years and spent a trillion dollars more than what the government was taking in. When talking deficits, you left wingers always need to mention the last “ten years”. Of course Obama’s deficits with the help of Pelosi and Reid has been more in each of his first two years than Bush’ eight deficits combined!

      “W, even though elected by minority, acted on mandate from God to divide country, alienate world, and funnel the country’s present and future treasure to privileged few.”
      What!? There is so much wrong with that statement I don’t even know where to start!

      Who the hell cares about Fox News! Really it is embarrassing to continue to here you left wingers complain about Fox. Yea, they’re more dangerous than the group that attacked us on 9/11…lol. I’m guessing you think MSNBC is the greatest thing on television you have ever seen! There is no bias on that channel…lol.
      And you consider yourself “wholly informed.” Wow.
      “It’s frightening to imagine the possibility that a large percent of Americans might” think like you do!

      • fredlinskip

        Jo, William, Gregg,
        I think should you choose to research, you will find that most economists agree that at end of W’s term, we were teetering on edge of deep depression. So as to not repeat the mistakes made going into Great Depression, and to most Americans disgust, it was decided to “bail out” “too big to fail” financial institutions largely responsible for fiscal collapse.
        Going into 2000 election, after 8 years of Clinton, a 10 year forecast of $5.6 trillion was forecast.
        W said “Heck no” to this real and potential prosperity & immediately ladled $630 billion in tax cuts to top 1%. After first year debt shot to 6.2 trillion dollars. It’s also true that Bush spent more $ than all previous administrations altogether. Yes? Also, on average, 2.5 times more jobs were created during Clinton years than each of Reagan, Bush SR, or W. You can look this stuff up.
        Obama- tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanista account for over $500 billion of the deficit in 2009 and will account for almost $7 trillion in deficits in 2009 through 2019, including the associated debt-service costs. (assuming tax cuts will continue extended and the administrations intentions of new funding provided for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan).
        Unfunded prescription drug benefit enacted in 2003 will account for further substantial increases in deficits and debt.
        Point being that yes debt and deficits have gone up greatly during Obama Administration, but great proportion of this has much to do with “hand dealt” when he entered office.
        Let me clarify statement, “W, even though elected by minority, acted on mandate from God to divide country, alienate world, and funnel the country’s present and future treasure to privileged few.”
        1) In 2000 Bush was elected by a slight majority (let’s not discuss Florida) in electoral college, but was elected by a minority of voters. Bush (The “uniter”) policies that followed were as if he had been given a mandate by a sweeping majority to undo any and all progress made in previous 8 years.
        2) W was also quoted, when confronted about going to War in Iraq, “I answer to a higher power”, as if he did not need any legitimate reasons to go to War, because he was acting on a mandate from God.
        3) As far as funneling $ to wealthy- Where do you think the trillions we have been borrowing have been going? Have we putting it all in a bomb and dropping on Iraq?
        4) When I say alienate the world- I am referring to many things- withdrawing from Kyoto, acting fairly unilaterally in Iraq, withdrawing from treaties, weakening the U.N., and etc.
        Fox news- yeah maybe I went a little overboard there. I don’t mean to imply they are devil incarnate, but do think that they are pawns of larger forces to the detriment of America as a whole.
        If you think these opinions are off, give me some facts that might help me change them. My mind is not closed.

        • Gregg

          You are conflating TARP and the “Stimulus”. Most agree that TARP did save off disaster. Senator Obama voted for it. President Obama was responsible for spending half of it yet he lays the entire deficit on Bush. Then he says Bush left him such a huge mess he had to spend to save the economy. The money has been paid back so it should be a wash but Obama spent it. His $814 billion “Stimulus’ was a complete and utter failure. His failure to extend tax relief until the last minute cost jobs. Obamacare is a ball and chain on the economy.

          Quit whining about Bush, he’s no longer President.

          • Gregg

            “Going into 2000 election, after 8 years of Clinton, a 10 year forecast of $5.6 trillion was forecast.”

            And then the dot com bubble burst and resulted in the Clinton recession which Bush inherited. Then we had Enron and other huge financial scandals. And then the financial center of the universe was annihilated on 9/11. The sweeping tax cuts for everyone especially the poor kept the Clinton recession shallow and brought in record revenue to the government. Unemployment was below 5%.

          • roy

            “And then the dot com bubble burst and resulted in the Clinton recession which Bush inherited.”
            That is one of the biggest double standards the left never gets called out on.
            During Bush’s first year the job losses were his fault.
            During Obama’s first year the job losses were Bush’s fault.
            The hypocrisy of the left is amazing!

        • Anonymous

          Let’s get this straight. The deep recession had deep roots in the anti-regulatory Bush administration and was finally touched off by the financial collapse that began a year before Bush left office. In the same way, the deficit was created by Bush — quite deliberately, it appears. Bush and his supporters have no defense that will hold up to the light of day, no matter how hard (and many of us feel a little sorry for them) his supporters try to spread the blame.

          The first, clearest, and most shocking warning came from Brooksley Born in 2009. Born, then heading the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, warned about the risks of deregulation and the derivatives market. She was hushed up. Republicans, as others have pointed out, put their fingers in their ears and chanted “la-la-la-la,” not wanting to accept the reality of their dangerous insistence on leaving the markets alone.

          By early 2007, America was beginning to pay the price of the right’s notion of what a “good economy” is. Good for whom? Not America.

    • Gene

      This entry illustrates very clearly why I stopped voting republican with the candidacy of Reagan. Only exception G. Bush the first. I make no moral judgements, just assessments of reason or lack thereof. Nixon used his brain, Reagan & G. Bush the second did not, and it was crystal clear from their campaigns. After the fact it is easy to blame Reagan & Bush II for the mess we are in, unless you are willing to deny the experimental evidence. Pay more attention to the political campaigns: after the vote it is too late.

  • Dotty33

    Mass Governator Deval Patrick was in Tel-Aviv last week, for creating Jobs – my butt.

    John Kerry is in Tel-Aviv for foreign policy crap – my butt.

    Two weeks from now, Obama is going to Tel-Aviv to show his loyalty and kiss Butt – not my butt.

    Tel-Aviv is the new Capitol of this Country, believe it or not.

  • Asrapd56

    If President took time, somebody in congress ” he is slow in responding”. If he went ahead and did participate, ” he did it w/o congress okaying”
    Guys make up your mind, do we want to be a leader, a follower. Yes ,we cannot be a world’s gaurdian. Yes, we certainly do not want another Afghanistan, another Iraq and compounding national debt.
    There is always a imperfect decision for a so called perfect situation.

  • Oscarantillon

    I think the message that we should be taking form the President is that the world can no longer count on us to solve every world problem, is time for the rest of the world to step up to the plate if it was really that serious why they waited for us?. like every one that values life I understand the pressure of getting involved but then there are plenty of other places that are just as bad and we do nothing about it, why is this different?. I am happy with his decisions the only thing I disagree is that the goal is to force end the Gaddafi’s government with sanctions or other means… when was the lats time that that strategy worked? the only thing that works is for the people on that country to force change

  • Pingback: Libya? Really, Libya? « WNYMedia.net

  • William

    No surprise about Obama’s failed leadership. He is just voting “present” once again.

    • Guillermo (William)

      From one William to another. I totally agree with the way President Obama has lead this country. Thoughful and logical in all of his decisions. America is once again a country that is admired and not a plague on the world like the previous president turned us into.

      Let’s face it and be honest, he has had many people against him wanting him to fail and not just for his policies. That is totally unfair and he has handled it with class and reserve.

  • ThresherK

    In what universe is a hack centrist like Gergen (the Joe Lieberman of his world) and a dedicated NROer balanced left-wise by one moderately left Matt Yglesias?

  • Pingback: Calling In to Talk Radio | Journalism 391JC

  • Nicolette

    Vote for Donald Trump … he stole Ghaddafi’s money

  • fredlinskip

    There was no “Clinton recession”. The expansion lasted exactly 10 years, beginning in March 1991 ended in March 2001. Majority of economists and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)- the private, nonpartisan organization whose business cycle announcements have long been considered the definitive word, confirm this.
    In last year of Bush, the monthly job loss numbers built steadily to a peak which then began to reverse during Obama’s first year. It’s a perfect mirror image. There has been steady albeit slow improvement- in the past year nearly 1.3 million jobs have been regained.

    To me, greater hypocrisy is complaining about deficits, then extending tax breaks for wealthy and corporations who presently have $ coming out of eyeballs- somehow pretending this will increase jobs (even though, CBO determined this is the least effective way to promote job growth). Then turning around and cutting programs to do with infrastructure (currently ours ranks 27th in world), education, alternative energy, and research: while other countries are making large investments in these same areas; and then wonder, “gee, why do we seem to be losing ground to other nations?”.
    It’s not just a matter of growing the economy for fabulously wealthy, it’s a matter of creating economy that works better for all. We can’t continue same policies and expect situation to improve- that’s definition of insanity. Must we enter a 2nd Great Depression before people wake up to fact that (sorry Reagan fans) “trickle down” doesn’t work. Get over it. If it did, judging by gap between rich and middle class over past 10 years, our economy should be in heaven.

  • Gregg

    It doesn’t do much good to deny reality. There was a Clinton recession, don’t take my word for it go to your own source (NBER). The recession lasted from March to November 2001.
    The tax cuts brought in more revenue, same with Reagan’s and Kennedy’s tax cuts. I don’t understand how that can be considered costing money. By “regained” I’m assuming you mean “saved or created”. The lexicon needed to be changed to hide the dismal results of destructive policy. The word is unemployment could be down to 7.7% by the next election and if so Obama wins. Think about that. Bush would have been excoriated over a rate that high. It’s the new normal.

  • fredlinskip

    Who was president from March to November 2001? Find me an economist of credibility that believes there was a “Clinton Recession”. Hannity doesn’t count.
    “The tax cuts brought in more revenue”, seems on the surface to be a contradictory statement. No?
    I know the arguments about less tax creates more opportunity for businesses to hire creating more GNP, etc. I’m not buying it. I’m especially not buying it now, when it is pretty common knowledge that corporations are sitting on unprecedented amounts of capital.
    Here’s what I believe- give more $ to rich and they are gonna get richer. They are also gonna use that $ to influence elections and use that $ to best of their ability to get people to believe if we just allow them to have more $ yet we are all gonna be better off. You’d think people might catch on that doesn’t make a lot of sense- but apparently they’re pulling it off pretty well. I guess maybe it all comes down to the adage, “$ talks, ____ walks”. (By the way I’m not saying that by default all wealthy people are “evil ones”- but many of them are going to “game the system” the best they can- that being partly how many achieved their wealth in first place.)
    Look at administrations of the past. During whose administrations did the middle class fare the best, America was most respected around the world, infrastructure, etc. received most attention? What were the policies in place at those times? Do some research.
    Reagan eventually raised taxes. Bush 1 called “trickle-down” “Voodoo economics”. Cheney famously said “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”.
    Lack of regulations and oversight is another critical issue that GOP seem vehemently opposed- I guess they can’t get enough of that corporate greed.
    What about the fact that corp execs make 100, 400, up to 1000x average American worker. Wouldn’t it make more sense if perhaps a CEO or exec made oh say, 30 or 40 times average worker and they used the rest to hire 700 or 800 more employees and have those employees work on such things such as R&D, so we actually have a chance of staying ahead of other countries? In many other countries the balance of wages between execs and employees, is nowhere near as imbalanced as ours. That’s partly why other countries are catching up and in many areas surpassing.
    I’d be ashamed if I was part of corporate culture laying off workers so I can give ungodly bonuses to execs. That’s not the “American dream” I believe in.

    • Gregg

      There are plenty of economist who say the recession started the previous quarter but it doesn’t matter. There is no way Bush’s policies 30 days into office caused a recession. I don’t blame Clinton, the bubble burst, but Bush inherited a recession.
      The tax cuts brought in more revenue, the numbers are the numbers, look them up.

    • Gregg

      Here is the OMB site. Check out table 1.3 for evidence of increased revenue after tax cuts.

      I don’t know what you mean when you say “give more $ to rich”. That certainly doesn’t describe tax cuts.

      Not only did the tax cuts bring in more revenue they shifted more of the burden to the rich.

    • Gregg

      “Find me an economist of credibility that believes there was a “Clinton Recession”. Hannity doesn’t count.”

      Does Bill Clinton himself count?


      Who is Hannity?

  • Fredlinskip

    Sean Hannity is a host at Fox who I believe has been a chief perpetuator of “Clinton recession” myth.
    Tax cuts for the wealthy is akin to giving them more $ and putting less in U.S. Treasury for such uses as balancing the deficit

    Yes I see in your chart that during most of Bush years, there was some more revenue brought in then in Clinton years. Suspect the housing and credit bubbles distorted this picture- if the housing bubble boom years went on forever, GNP and revenue would continue to rise- but that wasn’t realistic (or you might say “irrational exuberance”)
    Under Bush, who benefited? Jobs and middle class wages were pretty stagnant. Actually wages have been pretty stagnant since Reagan began his “trickle-down” and deregulation policies.
    But wages, employment, and middle class in general fared better under Clinton.
    But I take your point and will study further when time allows.

    That’s an interesting article from Slate, but there is no mention of “Clinton recession”.
    In it Clinton does accepts some culpability for the recent financial crisis though:
    “Clinton … asserted that he never would have let the housing bubble grow as big as it did and would have stepped in to prevent the market free-fall that ensued. Even with these self-justifying caveats, though, Clinton has gone much further in accepting responsibility… for helping to create the United States’ worst economic calamity since the Great Depression… than George W. Bush, whose responsibility is infinitely greater than Clinton’s… . But the idea that Bush would ever take adequate responsibility for his many blunders is so laughable that it hardly seems worth considering.”


    • Gregg

      Well. we aren’t going to agree, especially on the idea that allowing someone to keep more of what they’ve earned is giving them money.

      If I understand you right you are giving Clinton all the credit for his economy but completely disregard the Republican takeover in 1994 or the dot com bubble. You then blame Bush ignoring the bursting bubble (March 10, 2000), 9/11 and the Democrat takeover in 2006.

      During the campaign Obama and Biden repeatedly said it was the “worst economic calamity since the Great Depression”, but it wasn’t. Not even close. It is now but wasn’t then. After the election when they promised unemployment would not eclipse 8% if we passed the “stimulus” bill they said they didn’t realize how bad it was. Let’s review. They didn’t know the economy was as bad as they said it was during the campaign.

      • Fredlinskip

        Jefferson suggested that taxes could be used to reduce “the enormous inequality” between rich and poor. He wrote that one way of “silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.”
        Madison- “reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity (meaning the middle) and raise extreme indigence towards a state of comfort.”
        Taxes under Eisenhower- more than 90 percent for top earners- and the wealthy were still wealthy, and economy boomed. Johnson- lowered to 77% During Nixon over 70%.
        Not saying they need be that high, but those who have made so much through the benefits and protections of the American system need contribute their share.
        It’s so easy to say “taxes bad”. If people don’t like taxes, let’s get rid of defense budget altogether.
        I think we need a strong government that is looking out for the interests of “the people”, not just “the wealthy”.
        Most economists agree that had the economic crisis been handled differently, it could well of been “calamity”. It’s still fragile. Who knows what would have happened under McCain.
        Biden has away of putting foot in mouth- such as the “8% statement.
        The Dotcom bubble may have helped Clinton Economy, but was nowhere as significant an economic force as the housing bubble was. How do we know “revenues” would not have been higher without the Bush tax cuts?
        But let’s say for sake of argument that the 2 administrations were propped up by equal “bubbles”. What did they do with the extra “revenues” obtained during those times?
        Bush spent more than all previous administrations combined, while Clinton left us with a surplus.
        Yeah, 9/11 happened and made a difference, but the tragedy of 9/11 in my opinion is nothing compared to our incredibly ignorant and costly responses to it- but that’s whole other subject.

        Anyway more Americans probably agree with you than me, I’m sorry to say.
        I appreciate you keeping this conversation civil.
        You probably care about you’re country as much as I.

  • Pingback: Any worthy candidates? | Enhance The Human Experience

Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

Sep 12, 2014
In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

#WhyIStayed. We’re looking at women in and out of relationships of domestic violence.

Sep 12, 2014
President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, to discuss options for combating the Islamic State. (AP/Evan Vucci)

The President’s ISIS strategy. The Ray Rice video. Congress is back. Apple’s new watch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

More »
1 Comment
Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

More »