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The President And The Bully Pulpit

Barack Obama and presidential leadership. The “juice” question. Does he have it?

President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. (AP)

President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. (AP)

Mr. President, do you still have “the juice” to do the job?  What a question, at the hundred-day mark of a president’s second term.  But that’s the question President Obama got this week, at his Tuesday press conference, from Jonathan Karl of ABC News.  Do you still have the juice, Mr. President?  Oooph.

Barack Obama has faced implacable opposition from a Republican Party with a whip hand in the House and the filibuster.  But what can, should a president – this president – do when he’s up against it?  And does he have the juice?

This hour, On Point:  presidential leadership and “the juice.”

- Tom Ashbrook


George Edwards, professor of political science at Texas A&M. Professor of American government at the University of Oxford. Author of several books on American presidents including “Overreach: Leadership in the Obama Presidency,” and “The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership.”

Beverly Gage, professor of history at Yale University. An expert on 20th-Century U.S. history, including the presidency. (@beverlygage)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times (Maureen Dowd): No Bully in the Pulpit – President Obama has watched the blood-dimmed tide drowning the ceremony of innocence, as Yeats wrote, and he has learned how to emotionally connect with Americans in searing moments, as he did from the White House late Friday night after the second bombing suspect was apprehended in Boston. Unfortunately, he still has not learned how to govern.

National Journal: The Myth of the Bully Pulpit — “The method of transportation and the speed of communication have changed—but not the supreme confidence of presidents that they can use words to move votes. For Ronald Reagan, it was his oft-stated warning to lawmakers, ‘When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.’ Reagan was called the Great Communicator, but his attempts to use his eloquence to move Congress most often came up short. That is the conclusion of George C. Edwards III, the presidential historian at Texas A&M University who has conducted the most in-depth study of the bully pulpit and who suggests this White House should lower its expectations for the current exercise.”

The Washington Post: President Obama vs Congress, Explained — “In Obama’s defense, he suffers a bit from what I’ll call Caro Syndrome — where we live in the universe in which everyone sees the post of Senate majority leader and president through the lens of Robert Caro and LBJ. That’s just a bit ridiculous. The idea that someone can be bullied into voting their way just doesn’t work in this era of freelance congressmen relying on superPACs. Harry Reid fumes every time someone wishes he could be like LBJ (for what it’s worth, mild-mannered Mike Mansfield accomplished a helluva lot more than LBJ ever did as majority leader).”

Excerpt: ‘Overreach’ by George Edwards

Excerpt: ‘The Strategic President’ by George Edwards

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  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    we might have to start calling it the whiney pulpit

  • Steve__T

    Another no point story. In the words of my Father “He needs to grow a pair”, because you can’t be a real bull without em.

  • Wahoo_wa

    No fair picking on the president.  His opinion regarding the bully pulpit is evolving.  Once he decides what it is, he’s sure to rethink the matter months, weeks or even days afterwards.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    How does one prove an argument, beyond a reasonable doubt ?

    “ Glossary of rhetorical terms “



    “Argumentation theory”


    Meta Proof ?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    It didn’t work on Gun control. 90% of Americans want expanded background checks yet our hyper-partisan Republicans who despite all of their rhetoric about standing up for the American people stood up for only one thing: big money from the gun lobby.

    They live up to the words of Mark Twain – ‘…the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts
    that God makes.’

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       There were at least 5 Democrats that voted against that specific gun control bill so it isn’t just ‘hyper-partisan’ Republicans.

      And that 90% argument is bogus.  I am for closing gun show loopholes but I was against that specific bill.  I can guarantee you that 90% of the people in the states represented by those 5 Democrats did not want THAT bill.  I am fairly certain that a  majority in those states wanted THAT bill to fail.

      The biggest problem with this round of gun control is the proponents used Newtown as a catalyst for reform yet have offered no reform that would have stopped Newtown OR the daily gun violence in Chicago — which is an order of magnitude more deadly.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        In the US, about 30 people are killed every day by guns (Gun injuries are about 5 times that.) 

        Since Sandy Hook over 4000 people have been shot dead. Over 20,000 have been wounded.

        That tragedy reminded us that gun violence doesn’t just happen in the inner city.

        So just pray that you don’t loose someone due to gun violence…

        So if you don’t see this as a problem, then we don’t need a solution.

        Yes the bill had problems and yes, there were 5 Dems against it… that’s beside the point.

        The point is that the gun lobby and hyper-partisan
        politics stood in the way of any compromise that would have shut down the gun show and private sale loopholes.

        No one solution will end gun violence, but doing nothing will not slow its growth. What’s their excuse for doing nothing? Quoting only half of the second amendment, while ignoring the words ‘a well REGULATED militia’?

        Hyper-partisanship makes people stupid.

        • keltcrusader

          90% of Democrats voted for it and 90% of Republican voted against it. Can’t stand that they hold up these 5 Dems when the overwhelming majority voted for it’s passage.

          • 1Brett1

            I know! And the bill was just an expansion of the current background check system already in place but to include gun shows, private dealers, and online purchases. These are where most criminals get their guns, anyway; yet, in the same breath, conservatives point to illegal gun purchases as the problem! …To me, their argument falls apart at those two simultaneously held and opposed opnions.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Maybe we should have  gun safety training in all public schools.  That might save some lives.

          • keltcrusader

            The LAST place we need anything remotely connected to guns is in public schools! 

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Don’t you want to save lives?
            The earlier the better.

            Supposedly they teach condom use in public schools to save lives.  The logic is identical.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Save lives, enslave minds.
            What’s not to love right?

          • keltcrusader

            I know its hard for people like you with puny little brains to comprehend, but not everyone wants/needs/has uses for guns in their lives. For some kids, school is the ONLY place they consider safe in their lives. GUNS HAVE NO PLACE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Personal insults abound.  No need to be disagreeable just because you disagree.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            yup just different politics

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            i copied my post from above.
             its insane we teach kids about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, thin ice, cold weather, huffing, sex, bullying, strangers, crossing the street, getting enough sleep and sexting but dont take a few minutes to teach them “stop, dont touch, leave the area, tell an adult”. the materials for these lessons are available for free to any school that will take them. can anyone defend the policy of not teaching kids about gun safety?

          • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

            Is your glib retort an indication of how seriously you consider gun violence a threat to you or your loved ones?

          • Gregg Smith

            We have sex eduction, why not?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             The ‘big’ problem with guns is ‘illegal’ guns in the hands of criminals and those who suffer from severe mental illness.  There is also an issue with ‘accidental’ gun deaths and suicides.

            I don’t consider ‘suicide’ by gun a major issue since those compelled to commit suicide will find a way.

            Accidents can be minimized with proper training.  I don’t see why you consider this a ‘glib’ response.  It can certainly help.

            I don’t understand why you want to disarm law abiding citizens and allow criminals to be armed — as they are now.

            I haven’t heard a clean solution to handling the mental illness issue.  Unfortunately, that nexus of all recent mass killings is mental illness.  And the proposed law doesn’t address it either.

          • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

            When have I ever promoted disarming law abiding citizens?

            How much was mental illness a factor in the 25000 gun injury and deaths since Newtown?

            It is a factor, yes, and there was discussion of that that was unacceptable to various groups. Let’s start working on the ease with which criminals can get guns and the lobby that protects their right to get them by keeping loopholes open for special interests.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            “gun violence” is a term on par with “death tax”. how seriously should someone take a manufactured political newspeak term?

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            i have been saying that for a while. its insane we teach kids about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, thin ice, cold weather, huffing, sex, bullying, strangers, crossing the street, getting enough sleep and sexting but dont take a few minutes to teach them “stop, dont touch, leave the area, tell an adult”. the materials for these lessons are available for free to any school that will take them. can anyone defend the policy of not teaching kids about gun safety?

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          kind of stupid to pray that you dont loose someone to gun violence if they then are beaten to death. what difference does it make? whats the difference between being shot and beaten to death to the dead person? how come we never speak of knife violence or fist violence? is it because that would be stupid?  to me its all the same so picking on one means seems the height of folly.
          as long as you are focused on “gun violence” you will never look at what causes violence and thus never make any progress.

          tell me more about “the gun show loophole”
          have you bought a gun at a gun show without a background check? (hint: the “gun show loophole” is a myth”) as far as private sales how exactly will your law make a gangbanger and a guy who sells guns to gangbangers go on down to the gun store and pay $40 for a check before they do their deal? how will it make a woman who straw buys a gun for her boyfriend get background check? how will it stop a stupid woman from giving her insane son his own guns? its something that sounds good but when you think about it its just silly. even more so since the NICS database does not have records of the insane from states like MA.
          its funny that you want to ignore the second half of the second amendment and the supream courts interpretation of it

        • Denis

          And then there is this tragedy:
          A toddler in America was accidentally shot dead by her five-year-old brother who had been given the gun as a birthday present.
          Little Caroline Starks was killed when the boy fired the .22 calibre rifle he had been given last year at her.
          The two-year-old was rushed to the Cumberland County Hospital in Burkesville, Kentucky, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

      • nj_v2

        “at least 5…”

        Out of how many who voted for?

        And what was the ratio for the Cons?

        I’m surprised you can even type, so dizzy you must be from all the spinning it takes to manufacture some kind of equivalency out of the gas you pass.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          if it was really that partisan you would expect all the partisans on one side to vote for it and all on the other side to vote against it. that did not happen, in fact as many democrats voted against it as republicans voted for it so maybe its more complicated than that

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        somehow they will not adress the fact that nancy lanza had a background check and passed it just like the other mass shooters we have heard about lately. clearly that system does not work so expanding it would more would not work either. i would love one of the people who say we must do something because of newtown to explain how exaclty that would have prevented newtown

        • J__o__h__n

          She wasn’t the one who used her guns for mass murder of children and teachers. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            and thats why background checks can never be “universal” or be anything but a feel good measure

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Did you miss the part where 60 is the new 51?

        And funny you didn’t mention Columbine.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Guarantee?  Are you sure?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      you know those polls are baloney right?

      • northeaster17

        Romney thought so too.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Only if you disagree with them.

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          no i even think the polls that support my positions are bogus

  • Ed75

    He is using the bully pulpit to promote abortion, he spoke to Planned Parenthood last week. But he can’t be as open about that …

    • keltcrusader

      And I say, good for him! Women’s rights deserve to be campioned for someone since all your religion does is try to marginalize them.

      • Gregg Smith

        I disagree with the general statement except for Islam. 

        • keltcrusader

          Then you aren’t paying close attention, all religions marginalize women.

          • Gregg Smith

            Female fetuses?

          • keltcrusader

            Of course I’m talking about air-breathing females, dolt

    • nj_v2


  • RolloMartins

    He comes across as a whiny baby. What he should do is act like F. Roosevelt, and just pepper Congress with ideas. People would be saying, Wow! Wish Congress could do a tenth of what our president is doing! He’s perhaps not losing the battle for public opinion, but he’s barely keeping pace (with a Congress that is as popular as dengue fever).

    • Shag_Wevera

      A whiny baby?  Really?  Are you certain you aren’t engaging in a bit of hyperbole?

  • alsordi

    Just another sock-puppet in a suit.  Blah..blah..blah.

    Who has time or patience to listen to any political drivel?

    Political speech is the most dumbed down, hollow, hypocritically mind numbing, intelligence insulting, form of communicative deception known to man.

  • Markus6

    To be fair to the president, I don’t think the bully pulpit works like it used to. Each side is dug in to its’ own views so strongly that great words have little effect. And as soon as those great words are said, the washington analyst machine kicks in and spins them til they lose their original meaning. And I don’t see how they’d have an effect on congressmen who are largely owned by people who donate to their campaigns. 

    • Wahoo_wa

      I’m not sure that I agree with your thesis that the bully pulpit doesn’t work like it used to.  I don’t think the pulpit itself has changed nor has the potential to effect change and provide leadership.  I think it has more to do with the person currently holding office.

      • nj_v2

        +1 for proper use of effect.

  • adks12020

    I think the whole dynamic of the bully pulpit has changed with the infusion of a 24 hour news cycle into the mix.  Congressman, senators, pundits, etc. have taken advantage of the fact that they have an unlimited access to the public through a constant news media onslaught  and have effectively eliminated the bully pulpit of the president. The president has to be much more careful about what he says than some pundit or low level congressperson and they take full advantage of that by attacking him without fear of reprisal.

    Many people don’t listen to what the president actually says; they listen to what others say about the president which causes them to see mostly biased information. I constantly hear people misquoting the president and attributing policy ideas to him that aren’t his or are skewed through the lens of a pundit. 

    I think future presidents will all have to wrestle with this issue and it will continue to be a problem. I don’t envy that position one bit.

    • Wahoo_wa

      There are many excuses for poor leadership.  It falls on those leading to deliver a clear message despite of…or even because of the media.  Taking the opposing view one could argue that our former leaders could not clearly deliver their messages because there wasn’t enough media coverage, or limited media coverage.  Great leaders rise above the circumstances.

      • adks12020

        I think you’re just ignoring the facts because it suits your particular stance on the issue.

        The fact is that recent presidents (GW and Obama) have dealt with a completely different media dynamic than any presidents before them and neither one figured out how to use it effectively. GW managed to convince the public we should get into a couple of wars but that was more about blind patriotism and ager over 9/11 than his effectiveness. We all saw how fast things went downhill for him.

        Future presidents will have to figure out a new way to effectively use the new system or they will struggle mightily to get anything substantial done.

        BTW I’m no huge fan of President Obama. He ran as a progressive (which I am) and he is much more of a moderate than a progressive. He’s to the right of me on almost everything.

        I’m just calling it how I see it.

        • Wahoo_wa

          I don’t think I’m ignoring the facts at all really.  Each president has dealt with leadership challenges including the media.  I think you are just an apologist for the president.

          • adks12020

            If you knew me you would know that is most definitely not true.

            The point I’m trying to make, which you seem to want to ignore, is the current media landscape is completely different than ever before and very difficult for any one person or group to deal with. The point has nothing to do with being “an apologist” or President Obama at all.  It’s a general statement on the current media and political landscape. I was using him as an example of an overall trend.

            You feel free to believe whatever you want though.  That’s your right.

  • Gregg Smith

    He convinced the poor they were poor because to the rich. He convinced people Obamacare would lower health care cost. He convince people Al Qaeda was decimated and our Ambassador was murdered because of a silly video. He convinced people there were shovel ready jobs. 

    The bully pulpit is dangerous in the hands of a bully.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Said the Bully to the bullied.

      Something is definitely shovel ready around here…

      • Gregg Smith

        To me the shovel reedy lie was significant. He repeated it over and over and over again. Bureaucratic red tape got in the way and he joked about it. It’s not funny. 

    • brettearle

      What do you say to Senator Toomey’s comments–I believe it was yesterday–where he admitted that some of his Republican colleagues, in the Senate, voted against the Background Checks bill, simply because they did not want the President to `Win’….rather than actually vote their convictions.

      According to Toomey….

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Toomey sounds like a poor loser.  He has egg on his face and is looking for a scapegoat.

        • brettearle

          Oh, of course…..

          In the Court of Public Opinion, a prominent Washington Republican is so humiliated and disgusted that he turns on his Republican brethren by looking even more like he has egg on his face, than he already had.

          Of course…..

          Republicans always speak ill of their colleagues, now don’t they?

      • Gregg Smith

        I’m not familiar with the quote but I don’t deny the dynamic exists. I think we’ll see the same with regard to the immigration bill.

        • brettearle

          Appreciate your objectivity on this matter.

          And I also don’t deny that the Democrats are sometimes stubborn with regard to their core beliefs.

          The issue is:

          When does DC need to know that compromise is sometimes ESSENTIAL for the strength and the security of the country?

  • TomK_in_Boston

    I am sick of this closet republican using the bully pulpit to talk the liberal talk while walking the righty wall st walk. Sorry BHO, but “chained CPI” is the last straw for me. I don’t know if you really want to do the right thing but are just inept, or if you are deliberately using that liberal smokescreen to attack our core values, and I don’t care. 

    • Wahoo_wa

      It is interesting as a gay man to watch Obama’s face and hear his voice whenever he says the word “gay.”  It’s like someone just broke wind in front of his face.  His real feelings about gays are painfully obvious despite his pandering.

      • brettearle

        Reading body language and tone of voice, conveyed by other people–which might fit your own agenda (cynical or otherwise)–is a very dangerous road to tread down.

        I wouldn’t want defendants, in a court of law, to face you–should you ever serve on a Jury.

        It IS possible that whatever is conveyed in a tone of voice, or in body language, may NOT necessarily reflect the full opinions and feelings of an individual, or an individual’s soul. 

        • Wahoo_wa

          However we are talking about the “Bully Pulpit”….so if the public (myself included) does not believe a message is delivered with sincerity it becomes hard at best to trust the messenger/leader.  Body language and tone is part of that.  This is not a court of law…it is a court of public opinion.  Your analogy is invalid.

          • brettearle

            The court of public opinion is even more subject to corruption.

            It is mercurial, biased, distorted, and often, self-righteous.

            My analogy is even more valid, than can possibly be measured.

            Shades of Truth are all over Life, itself, and they are ESPECIALLY ubiquitous in the Court of Public Opinion…

          • Wahoo_wa

            You don’t understand the term “bully pulpit” then.

          • brettearle

            I wasn’t aware that you wrote the Dictionary, Mr. Webster….

          • Wahoo_wa

            I’m quite talented.

          • brettearle


            is an illness

          • Wahoo_wa

            Clearly, Obama provesyour point!  WE are sso onthe same pagenow!

      • J__o__h__n

        Who cares as long as he keeps achieving progress on these issues?  I don’t think George W Bush and Reagan personally hated gays but their policies and Court nominees were awful.  Clinton was probably fine with gays personally but passed DOMA to help with his reelection. 

    • creaker

      The “change” we got was 4 more years of the Bush era. And then we voted for 4 more. Not that voting for the alternative would have made any difference. In an oligarchy, it doesn’t really matter which one of “them” gets elected, they are all promoting the interests of a particular few over the interests of the rest of us.

      • nj_v2

        I’d ask the Obamabots (soon to be the Hillarybots): “Are you sorry yet?”

        Until the real liberals in the party—assuming there are enough left—take the Dem machine back from the corporatists and the posers, we’ll continue to get a choice between corporatist, rightish Dems and corporatist, extremist (to bat sh*t crazy) Cons.

        • creaker

          It’s the fallacy of democratic oligarchy – the sheep get to decide which wolves will lead them.

          • nj_v2

            It doesn’t have to be that way.

            It’ll take a lot of work, but the party could be reclaimed from the corporodems from the ground up and the inside out. 

            Have to start locally, within the existing political machinery. Attend party meetings. Become precinct reps. Get real progressives into local, then state positions.

            It’s essentially what the so-called Christian Conservatives did for the Repubs in the 80s, and what the Teabaggers have done more recently.

          • creaker

            Actually I think the system is designed to nullify this kind of movement – anytime one pops up that can’t be ignored,  one party will expand their platform to encompass the movement, pull it into the party power structure, and nullify it. Tea Party is a good recent example – the Republican party embraced them when they had no choice, brought them in, used them, and pulled their fangs. And now the Tea Party is just some smoke where there was once fire.

          • nj_v2

            You’re right, the system is rigged by those who occupy and benefit from it. 

            The Teabaggers failed (or are failing) in the longer term because, i think, there’s no real there there in their “message.” “Small government” is just kind of ridiculous on its face. Add in the racism, gun nuttery, survivalist elements, delusional “liberty” advocates and, well…

            I would think that a broad-based, genuinely progressive movement, espousing positions and policies that, in many cases, polls have shown that most people are mostly in agreement with, could build enough critical mass that it could overcome the institutional barriers and mechanisms that subvert progress and maintain the power of the current ruling class.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I agree. I understand why seeing the actual behavior of the “progressive” party could convert some to the anti-gvt attitude, but I firmly believe that without gvt in OUR hands we’re dead meat for the oligarchs.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    Nuts on LinRP!  On your point 4 – I’m always amazed how clips from the echo chamber are repeated by die-hard’s like so many passages from the bible. 

  • margbi

     Thank you LinRP for saying it like it is. The Republicans (Neocons) have been trying for decades to get rid of any social programs instituted by FDR. This must have seemed like a good time when we have a  President who doesn’t look like them, is probably a Muslim, and may not even be an American citizen!  Or so they believe.
    When, for whatever reason, PAC groups feed this animosity with stupendous amounts of money, the result is gridlock.

  • MrNutso

    The bully pulpit is bullysh!t.  The President can beg, plead, cajole or twist both arms and legs of every member of Congress, but it comes down to something as simple as pointed out by Pat Toomey:

    Republicans don’t want to be seen as helping the President.  It’s a sure fire way to get primary’d, as well as lessen the party’s chances in 2014 and 2016.

    Unless it’s something that will benefit Republicans such as immigration, they are not interested.

    • Wahoo_wa

      Your point raises the question: to whom is the message from the bully pulpit directed – Congress, the Supreme Court or the people?

    • 228929292AABBB

       The President has failed to stand behind his words on many issues which are 100% Executive privilege.  Prosecuting terrorist bankers?  The Executive branch controls the Justice Department.  Using and executive order to remove the enforcement of existing legislation regarding the poison mercury emitted from power plant smokestacks?  Only one man can do that, no one can make him nor stop him.  Signing bills he promised to veto in the middle of the night on holidays?  Republicans have been miserable, but the President’s inability to act on his myriad ‘red line’ ultimatums and promises goes beyond partisanship and calls into question his quality as a leader and as a person.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Is that MoDo piece supposed to be about this President, the Presidency, or a representation about the Beltway Inbreds?

    Cos Maureen Dowd keeps topping herself (and not in a good way).

    • MrNutso

      Her piece was ridiculous.  It boiled down to why can’t he make congress do what he wants them to?

    • anamaria23

      Maureen Dowd is one of the most demoralizing forces in print media today.   

  • DrewInGeorgia

    Along with today’s show I’m adding the phrase Bully Pulpit to my no fly list. Conservative, Leadership, Fairness, and Terrorism are already there to keep them company.

  • toc1234

    has BHO gotten anything right?  he’ll close Gitmo.  Nope.  The stimulus will keep unemployment under 7%.  Nope.  The Sequester won’t actually happen.  Nope.  The Syrians wont actually use chemical weapons.  Wrong.  The Bengahzi raid was by protesters.  Nope.  Obamacare will be a seamless transition and won’t cost anyone more.  soon to be.. Wrong. 

    maybe BHO should just step away from the pulpit.   And the media should start being a bit more skeptical…. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    In this day and time; indeed perhaps for all days and times in the past, we tend to be attracted to those who can tell us “believeable” lies. Especially when one considers that the truth can be very unpleasant.

  • creaker

    It’s been a neat piece of schtick – take someone who is actually somewhere to the right of where Reagan was, reactionary in terms of where someone like Eisenhower was, and smear him as the “far left” so much that the entire country steps to the right. And right into the pockets of those who are fleecing them.

  • nj_v2

    “Arm twisting”?

    Oops, Tom starts the program by misinterpreting the “bully” in “bully pulpit.”

    [[ "Bully pulpit" comes from the 26th U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, who observed that the White House was a bully pulpit. For Roosevelt, "bully" was an adjective meaning "excellent" or "first-rate" -- not the noun "bully" ("a blustering browbeating person") that's so common today. Roosevelt understood the modern presidency's power of persuasion and recognized that it gave the incumbent the opportunity to exhort, instruct, or inspire. He took full advantage of his bully pulpit, speaking out about the danger of monopolies, the nation's growing role as a world power, and other issues important to him. Since the 1970s, "bully pulpit" has been used as a term for an office -- especially a political office -- that provides one with the opportunity to share one's views. ]]


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    What do I make of this, a press corps asking the President “why do the people who are dedicated to ruining governance and you in particular so dedicated to doing it”?

    Tom, to use your own word, this is weird and unprecedented. When’s the last time the press corps went after GWB II like this? How unpopular was Shrub with the public before anyone in the WHPC stopped knobslobbering him?

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    The fact that that background checks did not pass despite the approval of 97% of the public does not reflect on the President, it reflects on the representatives that did not listen to the people they are supposed to represent. They kissed the backside of the NRA and pro gun lobbies instead.

    Any representative that even THINKS about their NRA rating when deciding how to vote should not be in the House or Senate.

  • Wahoo_wa

    It should be noted that “bully pulpit” does not mean to pick on the weak or push them into a decision.  “Bully” in this sense means a “good”, “worthy”, “admirable” thing.  It’s about providing  a vision that others can follow….it means convincing the public and promoting consensus.

  • Tom_Goodwin

    This is an absurd conversation which should be more about The News having become infotainment than the President being weak and ineffectual after being strongly reelected in the face of unprecedented obstruction.

    • Wahoo_wa

      Yet he has not moved the people enough to change Congress.

      • MrNutso

        Gerrymandering prevents change in Congress except when the public perceives that change is needed.

        • Wahoo_wa

          So we agree that Obama has failed to use the bully pulpit effectively.

  • Suzanne

    I’m really behind the president on this one. He is met with an obstinate and dysfunctional congress, power held by corporations and special interest groups, and a citizenry that’s split on many issues. America does not deserve this man.

    • J__o__h__n

      We deserve Obama.  We don’t deserve the Republican House.  If it weren’t for gerrymandering, they wouldn’t have a majority. 

      • Suzanne

        I agree with you John, but the gerrymandering, as a more and more entrenched agenda, is another symptom of the dysfunction. My comment above is more big-picture — about where we are as a society and even as a species. I look at the current (horrific) Republican House as one piece, but not the whole issue. The whole thing is so frustrating!

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Note that nobody in the mainstream press is given to explaining how gerrymandering has led to a continued GOP house, or how the Senate’s undergone a record number of filibusters.

          It’s instead put up as a failing of a popular Democratic president’s that this is happening.

          We need a new press corpse (no sic). And an hour of media crit on this show wouldn’t hurt.

  • creaker

    It’s all one big circus to the masses – endless fighting over what they really don’t care about – but things like the NDAA and a few other things fly through with overwhelming bipartisanship and little opposition or discussion. We’re being played.

  • nj_v2

    I’d ask the Obamabots (soon to be the Hillarybots): “Are you sorry yet?”

    Until the real liberals in the party—assuming there are enough left—take the Dem machine back from the corporatists and the posers, we’ll continue to get a choice between corporatist, rightish Dems and corporatist, extremist (to bat sh*t crazy Cons.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    “The President is appealing to reason”

    Well there’s the whole problem right there, none of us are reasonable. He is right about Congress not doing their job though. We have a House full of Bullies yet I’m listening to a show about the pulpit with the lesser power.

    But it’s all the current President’s fault, right?

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Did you listen to his presser?  It was loaded with so many false choices and excuses that even the liberal media are hammering Obama.  It was easy to tune out because the responses were loaded with ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and droning non-answers. 

  • 228929292AABBB

     The President has failed to stand behind his words on many issues which
    are 100% Executive privilege.  Prosecuting terrorist bankers?  The
    Executive branch controls the Justice Department.  Using an executive
    order to remove the enforcement of existing legislation regarding the
    poison mercury emitted from power plant smokestacks?  Only one man can
    do that, no one can make him nor stop him.  Signing bills he promised to
    veto in the middle of the night on holidays?  Republicans have been
    miserable, but the President’s inability to act on his myriad ‘red line’
    ultimatums and promises goes beyond partisanship and calls into
    question his quality as a leader and as a person.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Let’s start with going through the budget line by line and eliminating waste fraud and abuse.  He never even tried.  He could have used the modest sequester (a reduction in the increase in spending) to champion reforms but instead he turns to political gamesmanship.

  • J__o__h__n

    I don’t see that Obama failed to use his bully pulpit on the gun issue as Americans overwhelmingly agree with him.  It still failed but that means that the bully pulpit is of limited value today. 

    • Wahoo_wa

      I don’t think you understand the words “Bully Pulpit”.  It has nothing to do with force or the contemporary definition of the word “bully.”

      • J__o__h__n

        I used it as it was intended as a highly visible platform not as an opportunity to bully people.

        • Wahoo_wa

          My point was that he failed to convince Congress.  Not force Congress to vote in a particular way but convince them that it is the will of the people.  He had all the support he needed from the people but failed to lead the government.

          • J__o__h__n

            He failed to lead the House which is not going to pass anything he wants.  If the bill had a chance of passing, he probably could have rounded up the needed Democratic votes to get to the now required 60 but why would a senator risk taking a tough vote on something that won’t pass the House? 

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Eh, there’s just too much disconnect between wanting President Obama to work with Republicans. When he’s often proposing things now they proposed ten years ago, the GOP has little shatfits about it and it’s the worst thing ever.

            You can’t lead the whiny-ass titty-babies of this GOP congress.

            And the obstructionism goes down much easier when the press corps wakes up every day like Rip Van Winkle and doesn’t remember anything.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I don’t think this is entirely a Republican issue though. I remember a whinny punk Senator who railed against raising the debt limit.  Democrats also voted against the gun control bill too.  While I agree that the right is obstructionist I think the failures of leadership sit equally with the Democrats and the Republicans.  Personally I am not a partisan.  I don’t have faith in either major party.  They deserve each other but the U.S. deserves better.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Do you remember that senator filibustering everything?

            Because he didn’t. When the spit hit the fan, when Bush II was in the White House, the majority of Senators got stuff voted on to pass it with 51 goddamn votes.

            Now that there’s a Democrat in the White House, 60 votes is need for fncking  everything.

            That’s the lede. The press corps is blaming the president.

          • Wahoo_wa

            That’s because the Republicans voted along party lines during the Bush administration and now Obama can’t even get his own party to vote with him.

  • MrNutso

    Johnson had huge majorities in both houses of congress, and did not have to worry about Senate rules that would stop everything in it’s tracks.  Also, the were many moderate Republicans who would vote for Democratic proposals.

    • J__o__h__n

      He did have to manipulate the powerful southern Democrats who had seniority and chairmanships. 

  • creaker

    They expect the President to lead – but they won’t follow unless he leads them in the direction they have already decided they are going. And even then we’ve seen some will change their own direction rather than go the way the President goes.

  • Shag_Wevera

    The Bully Pulpit doesn’t work anymore because we don’t believe in anything but our own personal gain.  In a biblical sense, we are wicked.

    • MrNutso

      Not just our own personal gain, but our on personal facts on any issue.

  • northeaster17

    Never forget that the Republicans stated goal was to work against this president. Not work for the country, but to work against the will if the people. That explains a lot.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Myth. Sounds like liberal propaganda.

      • nj_v2

        “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”—Mitch McConnell”I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment.”—Steve Stockman, R rep, TX
        “He [McConnell] wanted everyone to hold the fort. All he cared about was making sure Obama could never have a clean victory.” —Sen. George Voinovich”One in five Republican voters believes Barack Obama is the ‘antichrist…’ “http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/obama-the-antichrist-global-warming-a-myth-lizard-people-controlling-the-world-conspiracy-theory-research-reveals-bizarre-beliefs-prevalent-in-us-8558384.htmlMouth almighty and all-around baffoon Rush Limbaugh pointed his skeevy little finger of shame at the women in this country for putting Obama back in office.  The man who typically spazzes out with misogynistic rants spewed yet another vulgar one regarding Obama’s win. The obnoxious GOP mouthpiece said on his radio show that he blames the gender gap for the president’s victory and women for falling in to Obama’s trap, “He treats them like vaginas and they say he’s my man.”http://newsone.com/2082964/republicans-against-obama/

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          “One in five Republican voters believes Barack Obama is the ‘antichrist…’”

          Was this before they saw Satin in  “The Bible” on the History channel?

        • hennorama

          nj_v2 – good ol’ Rush “The OxyMoron” Limbaugh – he never fails to unimpress.

          “He’s my man”.


    • Gregg Smith

      Working against this President IS working for the best interest of the country. HIS stated goal was to fundamentally transform America and he is succeeding. He lied repeatedly about Gitmo, shovel ready jobs, obamacare and on and on. The will of the people is not reflected in his policies. Obamacare is extremely unpopular, even the unions are bailing because of it’s devastating affect on jobs. People want the pipeline and fracking, they don’t want $4/gal gas. 

      I could not disagree more with your comment.

      • northeaster17

        Not only is the bull pulpit irrelevant, elections appear to be also.

      • Denis

        As usual for your posts not a fact to support you poorly reasoned ideas

        • Gregg Smith
          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Hilarious. IBD editorials. Townhall!

          • Gregg Smith

            Do Obama’s own words out of his own mouth mean nothing? Can you read? The poll was done by Kaiser not Town Hall. And let’s get this straight, are you claiming IBD made this up?

            “Late last week, the 22,000-member United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers dropped a bombshell on the Obama administration, not only withdrawing its support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but also demanding its repeal.”

          • hennorama

            I daresay no one in this forum ever heard of the UURWAW union before today.

          • Gregg Smith

            “Major unions like the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters are now demanding that they be allowed to stay on their current health care plans and receive government subsidies to cover the increased costs some of Obamacare’s provisions will impose on lower-income workers. They want to eat their government cake and have it too. What else is new? Who would foot the bill? You guessed it: We, the taxpayers.”


          • hennorama

            Gregg Smith – TY for your response.

            One must note that the Washington Times editorial (and you as well) offer zero in the way of evidence.

            As a counterpoint, allow me to quote the AFL-CIO’s website:

            “Health care is a basic human right. America’s labor movement has worked for more than a century for guaranteed high-quality health care for everyone. The Affordable Care Act is a historic milestone on this journey, but we still have a long way to go.

            “America must continue moving forward toward a more equitable and cost-effective health care system. Moving forward means working with employers to demand health care payment and delivery reforms to control costs, allowing people of all ages to buy into the equivalent of Medicare through a public plan option and allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Of course, the most cost-effective and equitable way to provide quality health care is through the social insurance model (“Medicare for All”), as other industrialized countries have shown.

            “The worst thing we could do is move backward by repealing the Affordable Care Act or its key provisions; privatizing Medicare or turning it into a voucher program; raising the Medicare eligibility age; increasing Medicare co-pays and deductibles or otherwise cutting Medicare benefits; or taxing employment-based health care benefits.”


          • Gregg Smith

            They were exempted and are now demanding to stay exempted. Why?

          • hennorama

            From the G.S. R-O-M:

            [Your premise is whacked]

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            There is a reason why your side is loosing.

            (Bad typing)

      • anamaria23

        How is he succeeding in  transforming the country?
        According to the Dems, he hasn’t accomplished much of anything for a progressive agenda.
        They say he is weak and  ineffectual, yet you say

        he is succeeding.
        How about pointing out the $11,000,000 salaries of health care CEO’s, the  exhorbantant profits in the medical device industry and BIG Pharma charging Americans double other countries.   Good for the country?
        How about the rising stock market? Bad for the country? 
        How about Congress refusing any initiative re: closing Gitmo? 
        How about families seeing an end to sending their children off to war?  Bad for the country?

        How has the Obama Presidency adversely affected your life?

    • Wahoo_wa

      I agree that the Republicans stated goal was to work against this president….that is well established.  The big BUT here is that the people elected Congress.  The Republicans are not working against the people.  If the nation wished to change 100% to Obama’s direction they would have changed Congress.

      • Denis

        Actually more citizens voted for a democratic congress than republican.  The Senate gained Democratic members.  The house only remained in the Republican column because of gerrymandering.  And of course the President won by a very large margin (by today’s standards).

        • Wahoo_wa

          8 seats changing in the House and 2 Senate seats is certainly not a wellhead of support.  The margin of votes in the presidential election having been cut in half between the 2008 election and the 2012 election is also not the great swelling of support you claim.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            The press corps was playing the horserace game in 2012–and calling it very badly. They hung on to Mitt’s chances until Halloween.

            They are the prism through which the coverage is shaped.

            A good rule of thumb is that when a Democratic president is being considered “unpopular” by the press, he has 12-15% higher ratings than when a Republican president starts getting stories framing him as “unpopular”.

            Another good rule is that when the narrative says “Obama isn’t really popular” and there’s no numbers from a real aggregator of reputable polls, it means he’s popular.

          • Wahoo_wa

            What about the fact that Obama was the only incumbent President since FDR in 1944 to receive fewer votes in his second term than in his first?  …and not by a small margin but by 5 million. 

          • hennorama

            Wahoo_wa – “what about the fact” that one of your “facts” is in fact not a fact? In 2008, Barack Obama received 69.5 million votes, and in 2012 President Obama received 65.9 million votes, for a difference of
            3.6 million.

            Those in the facts business call this “NOT close enough for government work” AKA, flat out wrong, and, using terms you may understand, “not by a small margin”, but by a rather large FACTor of nearly 40 percent.

            One could pose a different question to you – “what about the fact” that Barack Obama is the only person in US history to have ever received 65 million votes in a Presidential election, and he did it not once, but TWICE?

            Or “what about the fact” that Barack Obama WON by nearly 5 million votes in 2012 (65,899,660 – 60,932,152 = 4,967,508).



          • Wahoo_wa

            I was off by the 5 million.  I totally admit that.  It was taken from a resource prior to the final tally of the popular vote.  It still however does not change the fact that Obama is the first President in a significant amount of time whose second term election shows a clear decline in support.  I suspect Obama’s second win is due more to partisans than it is to belief that he is the best, most-qualified person for the job (which clearly he is not).

          • hennorama

            Wahoo_wa – TY for your response. I can definitely be a stickler when the word “fact” is in play. Your admission of error is both commendable and notable, especially “in here”.

            One can view President Obama’s election and reelection in various ways. Certainly the total voter turnout in the 2008 election was historic, in great part due to “the first” aspect of the Obama candidacy. There was a dropoff of 2,246,158 in voter turnout overall in 2012, from 131,313,820 in 2008 to 129,067,662.

            Still, Obama received a majority of the votes in BOTH elections.

            And then there’s the irony of Mr. Romney receiving 47 percent of the vote.

            Also, as a bloomberg.com article pointed out in January:

            “Obama is the first president to achieve the 51 percent mark in two elections since Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, who did it in 1952 and 1956, and the first Democrat to do so since Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won four consecutive White House races. Roosevelt received 53.4 percent of the vote — his lowest — in his last race in 1944.”


            Here’s more perspective from John Nichols of The Nation, which was written three days post-election:

            “When all is said and done:

            1. Barack Obama has won an overwhelming majority in the Electoral College, a daunting majority of the popular vote and a majority of the nation’s states—including most of the country’s largest states and states in every major region of the republic: New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes, the South, the Southwest, the Mountain West and the West.

            2. Barack Obama has won more popular votes than any Democratic candidate for president in history—except Barack Obama in 2008.

            3. Barack Obama is the first Democratic president to win more than 50 percent of the popular vote in a re-election run since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944.

            4. Barack Obama is the only Democratic candidate for president since FDR to twice win more than 50 percent of the national vote.

            5. Barack Obama has, in both of his presidential runs, won a higher percentage of the national vote than any Democratic nominee since Lyndon Johnson in his 1964 landslide victory.”


            As to the remainder of your post – I’ll let it pass without comment, as your admission of error leaves me feeling a bit less argumentative than usual.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            That’s a strange way to make facts matter,  coming up with a statistic nobody cared about ever before and trying to flog it.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Never let facts get in the way of an opinion…LOL

  • Sunbeamgardener

    Something nobody wants to talk about is the fact that he’s black and we still live in a racist society. 

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       You have got to be kidding.

    • Wahoo_wa

      He’s not “black”.  He is mixed race.

    • Gregg Smith

      That’s sick.

  • creaker

    Whatever happened to the Democrats in Congress? It’s like they disappeared and the whole battle is the Republicans vs. Obama. Other than it plays well in the media?

    • northeaster17

      Tip O’Neill has got to be wondering the same thing.

  • christiancreole

    The mention of that 90% gun control poll figure begs the question of whose poll is being quoted. What poll are we all talking about?

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Obviously a discredited poll.

      • anamaria23

        Kelly Ayotte is in serious trouble for her vote.  Additionally, she  lied about her reasons for voting no.    The bill  prohibits a national registry, she knows it and her constituants know she knows it.

  • jimino

    As I interpret recent history, Obama has used the “bully pulpit” to implement a so-called conservative agenda while getting so-called liberals to vote for and defend him.  Seems like it’s working pretty well.

  • MrNutso

    How about some discussion on the Presidents first 2 years in office when with the aid of Democratic control of the House and enough moderate Senate Republicans to get legislation passed.

    • J__o__h__n

      Blame Harry Reid for letting senators like Baucus derail things.

    • northeaster17

      It’s called a 60 vote minimum in the Senate and a very liberal use of the filabuster by the Republicans. That’s your discussion.

      • PithHelmut

        Always have a giggle when Democrats defend Obama’s bad habits so reflexively, even though now, the patterns are clear. 

  • anamaria23

    I would also add the President’s own Party electorate continual  expression of “disappointment”  which started  a mere half term into his Presidency.   Obstructed at every initiative for not doing what the Repubs wanted.
    A vow for “unyielding oppositon”  to Obama policies on Inaugeration night 2009.   That’s okay says the left wing.  Just make it happen or we will  call you weak and ineffectual and play right into the Repubs hands.
    The left wing of the Democratic Party is the Repubs greatest tool.

  • J__o__h__n

    I agree that the gun bill is a waste of his political capital as it is never going to pass the House unless he thinks this issue will be enough to swing the 2014 elections and not risk the seats of Democrats from rural areas.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      One credible theory is this was all a political calculus to gain the House.  This is why he so emotionally upset (very rare for Obama) when the Senate didn’t pass the bill and removed his ability to blame the House for the failure.

      • J__o__h__n

        I don’t think the public cares enough except for right after the latest mass shooting.  I wouldn’t want to risk any rural senate seats.

      • anamaria23

        Could it ever be that the President was deeply effected by the slaughter at Sandy Hook? 
        Are you always so cynical or just regarding President Obama?
        Sandy Hook aroused the American people from their slumber  regarding the shameful gun violence this country endures.
        Background checks should be a no brainer to start a meaningful gun policy.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           I’m sure he was upset by the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Weren’t we all?

          No, this is all about politics.  The bill that failed and he was so emotional about wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook.

          What they should be concentrating on is keeping the guns out of the hands of criminals.  They should leave law abiding citizens alone.

          • anamaria23

            Please explain how to keep guns out of the hands of criminals without some kind of legislation.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             I never said I was against legislation just the bill that failed.

            Illinois has some of the toughest gun laws and yet it has one of the highest rates of gun violence — mostly with illegal guns.  Clearly the laws are not being enforced.  Maybe the penalties for use of illegal guns needs to be increased and then the laws need to be enforced.

          • anamaria23

            One can travel from Illinois to a state with lax gun laws and secure a weapon legally as it stands now.

          • 1Brett1

            “Clearly the laws are not being enforced.  Maybe the penalties for use of illegal guns needs to be increased and then the laws need to be enforced.”

            Well, Worried, aside from the fact I often enjoy that you have a good sense of humor (which is greatly appreciated), I see the above sentiment I quoted as a conversation starter not a conversation shut down, and that is also appreciated….I know I take my shots at you from time to time just like I do other forum conservatives, but both sides could have a reasonable conversation starting with your above statement. While you and I might find disagreement in background checks, I agree with your statements here whole-heartedly.   

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        The Senate didn’t “didn’t pass the bill”.

        It was filibustered.

        We get enough silent “60 is the new 51 doesn’t everyone know that?” on the evening news. We don’t need it from you.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

           No.  It failed on a vote 54-46.

          The 60 vote process for non budget bills is not ‘new’.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            “Up or down vote” means nothing to you, does it?

    • hennorama

      J__o__h__n – whether it was “a waste of political capital” remains to be seen. One might expect this bill or similar coming up again next spring/summer once the political candidate filing deadlines pass, and members of Congress then know if they need to worry about any primary challenges.

      It’s possible that it may come up again before that, of course, but several Republicans must be concerned right now about potential challenges from those even further to their right, and this makes it more difficult for them to “vote their conscience” on this issue.

      Assuming they have a conscience, of course.

  • toc1234

    so Beverly… if GWB tried to get waterboarding (via the bully pulpit and public opinion polls a la universal background checks) to be a standard interrogation technique right after 9/11, that would be a good way to make legislation?  fraud.

  • Zach Winkler

    The reason the background check vote failed has more to do with redistricting than any presidential pulpit.  When a republican won’t vote for a common sense measure for fear of a primary vote from their own party then we will get what we have now; which is gridlock. Why are you not talking about the absolute obstruction on the part of republicans?  They have said numerous times their primary goal is to stop Obama.  

    • StilllHere

      Please, come out and say Democrats do not know how to govern and have no place being in the government.

  • Fred Barrell

    We have known all along that Mr. Obama is NOT a leader — he is a organizer.  As a career Army Officer I either led or the Army would release me.  Leadership is not totally a gift nor can it be acquired strictly through training — leadership is honed through leading (both your successes and failures) and lessons learned.  Mr. Obama has never been a leader; thus he has no personal inventory of lessons learned — so no one in America should be shocked that he is clueless as to how too lead the country.  If only we needed to be organized!

    • J__o__h__n

      Congress isn’t required to follow his orders.  How well would you have led a force that had a majority that was openly hostile? 

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         Giving orders isn’t the same as leading.  Leadership is a skill.  It is usually learned and honed over a lifetime of leadership.  Obama’s first leadership job was the Presidency.  Granted, I’m no fan of Obama’s policies but it is also clear to me that Obama is a poor leader and if I was a fan of his policy proscriptions I would very disappointed in his leadership skills.

        • J__o__h__n

          He led two sucessful campaigns.  A campaign is more like leading an army as everyone is working for the same goal and there is a chain of command.  Patton couldn’t lead the Senate into battle. 

          • WorriedfortheCountry

             Yes, he was successful winning election.  Clearly Obama’s great skill is campaigning.  He appears to enjoy it.  However, he won by demagogging and demonizing his opponents. He was left with a deeply divided country.  He did nothing to heal those wounds.

            I disagree about the Senate.  The Senate is loaded with wimps and sheeple. They could be lead but left to their own devices…..

      • PithHelmut

        Obama trained the Republicans to treat him like a discarded rag from the very outset. He didn’t stand firm about anything. He caved on the public option before even trying.  Then when came time to pass the Bush tax cuts, he bargained weakly. He held all the cards in his hands at that time, Republicans were licking their chops at the thought of continuing the windfall, gloating over the pat on the back they’d receive from their rich buddies. Obama seems to be disconnected from Americans, going about smiling broadly while the rest of the country spins into dislocation. He doesn’t seem at all aware of the fact that his supporters are woefully disappointed after placing so much hope on him a hope he accepted. He has backed away from all the big things he orated, (a one-term president if he didn’t fix the economy, closing Guantanamo and getting lobbyists out of Washington for example). We should have known him from the start, from the time he didn’t accept John McCain’s offer of going with public campaign financing.  Obama is a perfect Republican, he implements their policies but takes the egg on the face when the electorate recoils.

        • J__o__h__n

          I agree that he doesn’t have a clue how to negotiate.  Even if he was planning to abandon the public option, he didn’t even keep it as a bargaining chip.  I mostly blame the Senate for his early failures but he was certainly to blame too.  I was disgusted when he extended all of the Bush tax cuts and didn’t get much in return.  He tends to present a centrist plan which leaves him nowhere to give ground to work toward the middle and the Republicans resent his deciding where they should arrive at a compromise. 

    • anamaria23

      And if your subordinates obstructed  your every initiative, how would you lead?  Is there not some penalty for not following orders? 
      While I respect your fine accomplishment,  I just wonder
       if  the  roles are equivalant. 

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        You should read this book,(it is required reading in the Tea Party Movement.)


        • anamaria23

          I am in a group of which there are several tea partymembers.  We do not talk politics, but some of them will huddle and share  nasty Barack and Michelle cartoons that they collect. It is not about policy.  It is about the man himself.
            Not long ago, the President’s name came up and one cried “I hate Obama”,  Her face became contorted and dark.
          These otherwise nice people are consumed with contempt.  Fox news at work.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            So you have nothing to say about the book I referenced? But you choose to relate a story claiming that you have witnessed Tea Party members acting hatefully? Perhaps you may want to stop responding to me because I am a proud member of the Tea Party Movement (Tricorne hat and all). Is that what you want to do?

          • anamaria23

            You really think I can obtain a book and read it in a day? But as you mention the Tea Party, I convey my personal experience of them. 
             Not only will I not respond to your comments, I will not read them.   That should work out well for both of us.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            You waited a whole day to respond and when you did you choose to launch a non sequitur personal attack. As I have read “The attackers go after people and not the party; people hurt faster than institutions. Direct, personalised criticism and ridicule works. It is cruel, but very effective.” I will respond to such base tactics every time they are used.

          • anamaria23

            I am replying only to convey my regrets.  You are right.  I respsonded in bad taste.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Thank you.  
            If you have a opportunity do read The Starfish and The Spider it
            is an excellent source of inspiration.  

  • rvl1


    Mitch McConnell quote:
    “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

    Repubs stated goal and actual behavior has been to block everything even remotely connected with Obama. Country be damned.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Maybe he thought it was important because he thought Obama’s policies were destroying the country.

      I’m sure there is a political component but it mostly about policy.  Were you upset with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid fighting Bush on everything?

    • OnPointComments

      In the last election, 66 million people voted for President Obama.  63 million voted for someone other than President Obama.  When President Obama’s policies and agenda are blocked, they’re blocked by the elected representatives of those 63 million voters.

  • Wahoo_wa

    “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension  which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.” — George Washington, September 19, 1796

  • lindam11

    In “Dreams from My Father,” Obama said that for a black man in the US to succeed they have to talk softly, show no anger and make no fast moves.  So I think this is the reason he continues to behave that way.  If you talk to other professional black men, you will hear much the same. 

    • StilllHere

      When will he succeed?

    • hennorama

      lindam11 – indeed, the President will not allow himself to be seen as “an angry black man” for a variety of reasons, including that he is a “first”.

      This is similar in some ways to how Jackie Robinson famously ignored all the taunts, insults and threats directed at him when he broke “the color barrier” in the major league baseball in 1947.

      This strategy gives no ammunition to those who might criticize the reactions rather than the causes, regardless of how justifiable the reactions may be.

      But one might also conclude that a lack of displayed anger is part of the President’s nature, and not solely a strategic behavioral choice.

      While there is certainly a place for leaders to respond viscerally to certain events, in general a publicly diplomatic and calm attitude is preferable, IMO.

    • Gregg Smith

      Who is angrier than Obama? Who pitches more fits? Who is more petulant? He is a very angry man.

      • JGC

        Newt Gingrich is said to be a petulant hissy-fitter, and those are two of his better qualities.

      • anamaria23

        Please reference President Obama’s “fits”.

  • Kyle

    its pretty clear that the republican party’s top goal is to make the democrats look ineffective by blocking everything.  They have even said it publicly.  Obama never had a chance to get anything passed as soon as the election 2 years after he started took place.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Blame Bush.  That is what Obama does.

    • Wahoo_wa

      But the people elect Congress.  If the nation truly believed in Obama’s leadership they would change Congress.

      • Kyle

        The congress, and especially the house, is created out of a series of local elections.  The house is currently the only political body with a majority of republicans.  This institution is the least reflective of the nation as a whole, and the most easily manipulated by gerrymandering.  The white house is a direct result of an election for obama, and the senate is still democratic.  Unforunately, the senate is crippled by our awful filibuster rules, which causes the republican minority to be easily able to block anything.  

        • Wahoo_wa

          This assumes the electorate does not vote a mixed ticket.

      • Kyle

        They made a good point in the show that our parties act like parliamentary ones, but our elections are not set up to accommodate that.  

    • Trond33

      So many of the Republican Party leadership could easily be cast into a remake of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

      • StilllHere

        Because they are good actors, whereas you sir require no acting skill

  • creaker

    They argue about everything – except what they all want. Some things have flown through unopposed from either side. And then they promptly go back to the folks that can’t agree on anything.

    It’s like professional wrestling – on the screen it’s all nastiness, posturing and threats. But in reality all those folks are all working together.

  • William

    It is difficult to trust the President when his biggest bill, Obama-care, was passed with “we have to pass the bill to find out what is in the bill”.

  • http://twitter.com/doleyar David O’Leyar

    One big missing observation is that it appears that the media is not doing “their job”.  As one of the callers mentioned, there were and still are lots of politicians making out and out misstatements about “Obamacare”, yet no journalist seems to take them to task for their mendacity.  Until the “5th Estate” gets back to work as they did during the “Great Depression”, the “Cold War” and the work by congress during the 1960s, the president and “the will of the people” will not be pressed.  So media, do your job!

    • WorriedfortheCountry

       Obama told us on Wednesday that Obamacare is 90% implemented and is working just fine.  Should the press ‘call’ out Obama on his mendacity?  Personally, I have yet to see it.

    • notafeminista

      I’m curious to know what you see as the media’s “job”.

    • Steve_the_Repoman

      I am not anti-democracy or anti-free press and do believe in full disclosure of any and all government….

      but I wonder…

      does the non-stop news cycle and media availability lead to:

          -politicians of all stripes being consumed by vanity
          -the media being seduced by self-importance
          -and the public, with its immediate access to
            comment on any and every issue, being
            exposed as mindless?

      If wisdom is made known by her children…?

    • OnPointComments

      Sometimes there’s truth in humor.  As President Obama said at the White House Correspondents Dinner, one of his chief advisors, David Axelrod, has gone to work for MSNBC, which is ironic because MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.

      • StilllHere

        Hillary called the media’s love affair with Obama, and she was right.

  • MrNutso

    No Tom.  He needed at at least 1 more Republican to get the gun legislation.

  • Tmurphy27

    I think that president Obama should go back and read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Make Friends and Influence People”.  Rule #1, “Do not criticize, condemn, or complain”.  I don’t recall a single speech that the president has made where he hasn’t poked jabs or criticized the republicans and/or complained about how he “inherited” the situation and it isn’t his fault.  It makes me sick.  A good leader does not act like that.  Its certainly no mystery to me why none of the republicans like him nor want to work with him.

    • Gregg Smith

      He is not an honest broker.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      He acts that way because it is not about policy.  He could not care less about policy.  All that he cares about is political power.  Did you miss his press conference when he called the complaints about Obomneycare that it’s all much ado about very little.   Very little is the amount of Obomneycare that has been implimented.  The ugliest parts will hit in 2014.  How does our President not know that?  

  • Gregg Smith

    Now even Harry Reid says Obamacare is a train wreck. Answer? More funding of course. It’s a disaster.


    • TomK_in_Boston

      It’s a combination of righty ideas put together in collaboration with the big health care corporations. As usual BHO refused to promote progressive ideas, folding on “medicare for all” at the last minute. On the whole it’s a plus, a baby step forward, but we need national health care.

      • anamaria23

        I believe it was Joe Liberman who killed Medicare for all.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Oh yeah, another Dem who betrayed his liberal roots, a nice partner for BHO…once a good family friend of ours, too. Nevertheless, BHO didn’t fight for it.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        Big government socialism is the road to failure every where it is tried.  

        • TomK_in_Boston

          If you ever have an idea, I’ll be happy to listen.

    • hennorama

      Gregg Smith – you mischaracterized what Sen. Reid was quoted as having said. Reid did not “[say] Obamacare is a train wreck”. He was discussing that POTENTIAL, using conditional logic.


      “Max said unless we implement this properly it’s going to be a train wreck, and I agree with him,” Reid said, echoing a warning delivered last month by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

      “Reid warned the federal government is not spending enough money to implement the law because of Republican opposition to ObamaCare.

      “Here’s what we have now, we have the menu but we don’t have any way to get to the menu,” Reid said.

      The conditional phrase “unless we implement this properly [then] it’s going to be a train wreck” is practically a universal truth for any policy, rule or regulation one can name or imagine.

      • Bill_GKD

        What?  A misrepresented statement?  There’s a shocker.

        • hennorama

          Bill_GKD – Indeed.

          Unlike Captain Renault in Casablanca, I’m not feigning that I’m “shocked, shocked to find that [misrepresentation] is going on in here!“

          I’m just pointing it out for all to see.

          Thank you for your response.

        • Gregg Smith

          Read the link, I posted it.

          • Bill_GKD

            I did thanks, and I read past the first sentence, which is how I knew that your post was bunkum

      • Gregg Smith

        Nope sorry, he said it. He agreed with Baucus. The train wreck will happen, “implement properly” means spend more money we don’t have. Train wreck. 

        • hennorama

          Smith – PPPP.





  • PithHelmut

    One thing we fail to recognize is the entire political system is convoluted from top to bottom. Who are able to so much as run for office these days, out of the general population?  One has to either be obscenely wealthy or be backed by the obscenely wealthy and be able to talk out of both sides of the mouth. In reality, voters don’t get a say in anything. We can’t even be sure votes are counted accurately. Everyone is sleeping with the devil these days, even the press. Now with the internet, we don’t need to do things in the same, antiquated ways. Yet look at the members of Congress…most of them are the same tired old fossils that usually come from only one profession, the legal profession and often, have very limited knowledge of science and technology. It’s so woeful I can’t bear to think about it more today. 

    • notafeminista

      Where does FDR fall in said convolutions?

      • AC


      • hennorama

        notafeminista – one can only conclude you missed the use of the present tense in PithHelmut’s initial sentence.

        Thank you ever so much for your non sequitur.

        • notafeminista

          FDR wasn’t wealthy?  The question stands.  Thanks ever so much for your interruption.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista – Thank you for your response, and you’re welcome.

            Apologies in advance to PithHelmut for jumping in and using a direct quotation of your post, with emphasis on both the tense and the temporal added:

            “One thing we FAIL to recognize IS the entire political system IS convoluted from top to bottom. Who ARE able TO so much as RUN for office THESE DAYS, out of the general population? One HAS to either BE obscenely wealthy or BE backed by the obscenely wealthy and BE able to TALK out of both sides of the mouth.”

            notafeminista – please show how FDR, who has been dead for nearly 70 years, would be relevant to this discussion of the present state of what PithHelmut described as “ the entire political system [which] is convoluted from top to bottom”.

            You asked “Where does FDR fall in said convolutions?” and state “The question stands.”

            The obvious answer is “FDR’s been dead for nearly 70 years. He is completely irrelevant when it comes to the current state of politics.”

            Again, one can only conclude you missed the use of the present tense in PithHelmut’s initial sentence.

            Not only that, your example of FDR, about whom you (presumably rhetorically) asked “FDR wasn’t wealthy?” helps prove PithHelmut’s conclusion that “One has to either be obscenely wealthy or be backed by the obscenely wealthy …”

            Was that the point of your questions? To add credence to PithHelmut’s ideas?

            Thank you again for your response.

          • notafeminista

            The obvious answer is NOT that he’s been dead for 70 years thus making him irrelevant.  As you pointed out to begin with, Pith was referring to politics in the present tense..as if somehow in the last say 20 or 30 years (I’m sure with the ascension of President GWB because we know he is the source all things evil) that it somehow takes someone who either is wealthy or supported by someone wealthy to get elected. 

            Except just to put the fly in the proverbial appoinment, needing a significant amount of money to be elected president is not, in fact, a recent development.  A point which most left of center folks these days would prefer to ignore but that you managed to grudgingly concede all the while attempting to make it irrelevant as well.  Pick one.

            Again, thank you for your response.  I am always thrilled by your acumen.

          • hennorama

            notafeminista – TY for your response.

            Your point seems to be that “needing a significant amount of money to be elected president is not, in fact, a recent development”.

            This is certainly true.

            However, despite the fact that the topic of the day was “The President And The Bully Pulpit”, PithHelmut’s post described “the entire political system … from top to bottom”, included “members of Congress”, and asked “Who are able to so much as run for office these days, out of the general population?”

            Please note the conspicuous lack of any mention of the word “president” in the entirety of PH’s post.

            Your perception of PH’s remarks was clearly quite limited, and therefore your remarks were, and remain, a non sequitur.

            Thank you for your display of your considerable lack of acuity.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Cokie Roberts actually said something that made sense. I wonder if she meant it the way we heard it.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Were you upset with the disrepect dispensed by Democrats toward Bush?

  • Trond33

    The problem is not the President, nor is the problem Congress… the problem is the Republican Party.  A party that was in transition in the 1990′s, turned to the extreme fringe in the 2000′s, and today is in decline and heading to irrelevancy.  A Republican party that is sending unqualified people to the halls of power.  Individuals who not only are incapable performing their duties under the Constitution, but are happy to skirt around their obligations in order to placate their fringe views and rich puppet masters.

    The big crisis the United States faces is that one of its major parties failed to transform in the 1990′s, and twenty years later, is in its death throws.  

    Until the Republican Party is replaced by a party that can comprehend reality and understands the responsibilities of leadership, this country will continue to see dysfunctional government on local, state and federal levels. 

    • brettearle

      I think that you are miscalculating the ever-changing political trends in this country:

      It is highly unlikely that either party will serve concurrent terms, these days, beyond an 8 year Administration.

      And while the GOP needs to carefully `strategize’ its message to attract a wider tent–because of Demographics that they have sorely ignored–the Presidency could be theirs for the taking in 2016.

      Though I am a solid Democrat, I would argue that Governor Christie will be the presumptive favorite to beat Clinton, Bayh, or whoever else the Democrats trot out there–EVEN IF THE GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY DOESN’T LOSE 100 POUNDS.

      Christie is especially charismatic; he obviously can reach across the aisle (?); will be considered to be a throwback to the traditions of Taft and T. Roosevelt; and will likely be sold as a moderate Republican, a bit to the Right of Rockefeller.

      There are, I believe, many Christie Democrats–and they will NOT forget how he helped President Obama win his second term in office.

      Rumors of the Death of the GOP are greatly exaggerated.

      Rubio is surely a possibility–but I see him as the companion on the ticket.

      God forbid, though, he might take over the Presidency before 2020.

    • William

       You mean the same leadership that laid off air traffic controllers as a political stunt? We need more of that style of leadership?

      • hennorama

        William – you are no doubt referring to Pres. Reagan as “leadership that laid off air traffic controllers as a political stunt”, right?

        • William

           No, President Reagan fired those people that went on strike. No political grand standing, just good leadership.

          • hennorama

            William – Tomato, Tomahto.

            One person’s “good leadership” is another’s “political stunt” in much the same way that one person’s “terrorist” is another’s “freedom fighter”.

            The difference is that Reagan’s actions resulted in a deficit in air traffic control and safety for nearly ten years, until staffing levels were eventually restored. In addition, Reagan was vindictive in banning those fired controllers from Federal employment for life.

            Quite a bit different from temporary furloughs of some controllers that President Obama did not himself order.

          • William

             No. Reagan upheld the law. Obama is playing political poker.

          • hennorama

            William – as sequestration is “the law” at present, your argument fails. Pres. Obama and the FAA also “upheld the law”, sir.

          • William

             Political stunt.

          • hennorama

            Repetition is not an argument.

          • Gregg Smith

            The sequestration does not have to affect the FAA at all and even if it did, the FAA has many more options than to furlough workers across the board. The FAA got more money than they asked for even after sequestration. It’s a political stunt.

          • hennorama

            Gregg Smith – All very fascinating as an opinion, yet completely devoid both of any proof of your claims, and also any argument against the fact that Pres. Obama and the FAA also “upheld the law”, sir.

          • Gregg Smith

            The burden is on Obama.

          • hennorama

            From the G.S. R-O-M:

            [Alrighty then]

          • StilllHere

            Obama has whined how much minimal cuts in bloated government waste would hurt and immediately makes it political cutting WH tours …. Pathetic.

          • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

            Really, really? Two words – Iran Contra … Surface to air missiles sold to a terrorist nation. Drug dealing to fund ops explicitly forbidden by congress… Subversion of the constitution, failure to uphold his oath of office! He should have been impeached.

            You guys really eat that Reagan mythology up. Too bad you didn’t live through it, you could at least make a fact based assessment that will stand the test of time, which the mythology that the radical right continues to spin will not. Reagan was so moderate that he would be drummed out of today’s GOP. Too bad he’s dead, he can’t stand up for any of the principles he espoused that the neocons routinely rail about today with his photo framed nicely on the wall behind them.

            Do the neocons even care about their hypocrisy or are the just too stupid to recognize it.

          • StilllHere

            He was willing to pay a price to make the right choice and we are all better for it.

    • http://twitter.com/MBumbel marcelo bumbel

      Yep. Who´s responsible for the failure of the Obama administration? Yesssssssss! The Republican Party! Brilliant!

    • StilllHere

      straight from the whiney pulpit

      there was no transition, there was consolidation of power in Congress and then the presidency

      there are no qualified Democrats in Washington and none who know how to do their jobs; they wait to take their orders from their deep-pocketed special interest groups, more often than not parasites sucking at the government teat

      the failure of Democrat leadering comes from the top and that is the reality

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      Agreed… Hyper-partisanship has made the Republican Party stupid and counterproductive refusing to agree with any position held by their opposition even if it originated from the Republican Party. The GOP has become ‘God’s Only Party’ since Democrats are all clearly the tools of satan and communism, socialism and fascism as it is comprised solely of godless, malingering social deviants with no morals or family values or work ethic.

      By pandering and promoting such devise vitriol and sentiment the GOP has become the antithesis of The America that the age old struggle for freedom and democracy has fought for.

      Since 2008 alone the Gray Old Party has openly worked to make it harder for the poor to vote than to buy a gun.

      They openly fight to force the poor and middle class to bear the burden of preserving the social fabric, infrastructure, fiscal integrity and strength of this country while openly protecting the financial elite from making any sacrifices whatsoever. Oddly they protect those who derive the most from our capitalist system, those who have the most to defend, those who have actually gained ground in the Great Recession. They stubbornly refuse to ask sacrifice of those most able to contribute to the security of the very nation that affords them the economic framework to prosper so successfully: the financial elite.

      They currently hold the US budget hostage in the name of an economic theory of government austerity based proven to be based upon a math error in the data of the economists who made it up. In the face of this alarming FACT and the disastrous effects in Europe, they continue to push for austerity risking a double dip recession or dampening our recovery at best.

      Ironic is it not, that the GOP that speaks of investment refuses to risk investing in ways that are proven to drive growth such as repairing and building infrastructure?

      The GOP has gone stark raving mad: they are so radicalized now that they are willing to oppose anything if in their minds they can taste victory regardless of the consequences to the country, regardless of the harm to people, regardless of facts.

      • William

        Over 3 trillion in spending, at the federal level, and that is not enough? Exactly how much would be “enough?”

        • StilllHere

          Never enough to those who want the government to be the universal nanny.

  • MrStang

    Obama has used William Tecumseh Sherman scorched earth tactics on those brown people he believes endanger this country. If he were to use the same ruthlessness politically against the racist, stupid, anti-science, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-fact, anti-consumer, anti-headstart, pro-torture Republicans, these beltway shrimp-eaters would wwet their pants at the second coming of Nat Turner.

    Please excercise some responsible journalism and do several shows on the epic, historical, treasonous behavior of this Republican party.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    The #1 problem is that the media have done a good job of painting BHO as liberal or even socialist, and he talks a very good liberal talk. So he has an unprecedented ability to pull a “Nixon goes to china” attack on core American values, by proposing “entitlement reform”, continuing to suck up to wall st, etc. This is very dangerous.  He can get away with stuff that no red state wingnut could. 

    I voted for him because the prospect of a hostile takeover of the USA by Bane Capital made me wanna puke. Financial con men do not belong in public office. I won’t swear that he’s any better than Lord Romney would have been, however.

  • Michael Bristol

    President Obama collected the most money to win his election.
    The people, institutions, organizations that paid for his winner commercials are shaping and running current events, with or without headlines, with or without his help.
    A press conference at the White House is first and foremost theater. Those asking the questions and those answering are entertainment professionals whose skills of course are always on the line.  

  • Michele

    Re: the Gun Vote only in Congress is 60 Yeas and 54 Nays a loss and not a victory.  That’s the real failure.

    • hennorama

      Michele – the Senate doesn’t represent the people; it represents the states. So Senators from states with low populations have outsized political influence, and vice versa.

      I thought Chris Matthews made an interesting point on his Hardball show today. The topic was firearms background checks and the recent vote in the Senate. Matthews said the Senate vote was not exactly surprising and “it could be because the senate is representing land [and not the people]”.

      The following is a livedash transcript from ark.com. Livedash is a site where one can “Search everything said today on TV” and is super-handy to use before “official” transcripts become available on various news sites. (See:http://livedash.ark.com/):

      00:06:36 It represents the states.

      00:06:36 If you look at a map of the united states, most of the map physically is republican and conservative.

      00:06:41 It’s rural.

      00:06:41 It’s vast spaces in the south.

      00:06:43 And especially in the rocky mountain west.

      00:06:46 >> Yep.

      00:06:47 >> All that space is represented in many cases by republican senators.

      00:06:49 >> Right.

      00:06:50 >> Who are pro gun.

      00:06:51 >> Right. When you go to have a vote, 90% of the country wants background checks expanded.

      00:06:59 The senate goes the other direction.

      00:07:00 You go, whoa, it could be because the senate is representing land.


  • StilllHere

    He gets what he’s earned.

  • anamaria23

    Kindly reference the Justic Dept memo.  

  • kentchris

    Ronald Reagan repeated the phrase “government is not the solution, government is the problem’ so often that even people who new that it didn’t make any sense started to believe it. He was followed up by Grover Norquist who preached that ‘Government should be starved until it was the size of a small child and then drowned in a bathtub”.
    What has become overwhelmingly apparent over the last 30 years is that government can be a problem especially when the party of Ronald Reagan is in control. The solution may be to follow Grovers advice and starve Ronalds party (GOP) until it is the size of a small child or better yet the size of a fertilized egg and abort it. Forever!!!!!!!

  • TomK_in_Boston

    If you don’t know what “Nixon goes to China” means: Nixon had the highest possible anti-communist cred, having participated in McCarthy’s witch hunts. So he could go to China and begin to normalize relations, while almost anyone else wd be accused of being soft on communism. 

    Similarly, BHO is presented (wrongly) as such a lefty by our stupid media and his own talk that he can cut SS, operate illegal drone wars, and populate Treasury with wall st insiders and there isn’t much outcry. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Hill/1251375117 Kevin Hill

    I was very disappointed in Tom Ashbrook this evening. I listen to the show regularly and always thought that he was a journalist who asked and forwarded the difficult but relevant questions to his panel. This evening two successive callers raised the point that the republican hatred for our president and obstructionist attitude toward his policies were based on race and prejudice.

    Tom being totally out of character ignored both statements, not providing the panel an opportunity to respond and continued on to a totally irrelevant question. Shame on you Tom! and if you were only listening to your producer, shame on you both!! When are we finally going to address the fact that so many people already know, that no president in recent history has had to deal with this level of hostility. If it gets dismissed on a show such as this, we are really in trouble as a nation.

    The topic of the “President’s juice” has its roots in the fact that he is biracial and some people in this country maybe more than we know have a major problem with that fact. Tom Ashbrook swept this under rug, which was a failure on his part. Whatever his feelings or those of his producers might be toward the president and his race those callers statements should have been turned over to the panel for discussion and comment.

    • StilllHere

      Please, what a tired old song about hatred; and the throw away line about implied racism also demonstrates that in your mind Obama can’t be criticized.  He rises and falls on his own, and lately it’s been all downhill.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I don’t think  the “President’s juice” question has roots in Obama’s race.

      There are many questions about racism in politics, especially w.r.t. the Tea Party and their warping of what remains of the GOP. But neither the White House Press Corps nor public radio will really go into that until some of the usual sources (Drudge, Politico) make it into a narrative, methinks.

      The question about “juice” was asked of Obama because he’s a Democrat. There’s always room in the mediascape for stories about a Democratic politician being not popular. If enough of them get filed, contintually, then when a minute shift downward is seen in approval ratings, one of those stories will be presciently accurate.

      (I don’t even know if I’m kidding any longer.)

    • kcrowell

      I sat down at my computer this mourning to blast Tom (whom I like and enjoy his show) on this very issue, when I read Kevin’s comment and thought, I couldn’t have said it any better…right on Kevin!
      Bigotry, pure and simple. Lots of Presidents have faced lots of opposition on lots of issues, but as one of the panel said, no president  has faced more opposition on more issues than President Obama since they started keeping track.
      There is an underlying vitriolic dislike, if not hatred for this President like no other, and, like no other, he is black.
      Come on Tom, if you won’t engage when the question is controversial you become irrelevant.

      Kevin  Crowell

    • kcrowell

      I sat down at my computer this mourning to blast Tom (whom I like and enjoy his show) when I read Kevin’s comment and thought, I couldn’t have said it any better, right on Kevin!
      Lots of presidents have faced lots of opposition on lots of issues but, as one of the panel said, no president has faced more opposition and obstruction, on more issues than President Obama has in recorded history.
      There is an underlying vitriolic dislike if not hatred for this President like no other, and like no other, he is a black man. Like the caller said, if you scratch the surface of not only some members of congress but, more importantly   many of the public, who so vehemently oppose this President, you will find a bigot.
      Come on Tom, if you pass on the tough questions you become irrelevant.

      Kevin Crowell

  • Stephen_in_Maryland

    I used to read Maureen Dowd but no longer find her worth the time. A better commentary on the topic of Obama and “juice” came from another NY Times columnist today, Charles M. Blow, who wrote that “The president responded jokingly” to Jonathan Karl’s question; then Blow continued, “It was a funny exchange, but also a telling one, less about this
    president’s ability to maneuver and push policy than about media
    organizations that are forever looking beyond the moment, so much so
    that they do little justice to — and demonstrate a marvelous vacuity
    about — the present.”

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Not that I’m braggin, but I think I gave up on her before you did.

      Hey, you too can be MoDo: Just say to yourself “Every Democratic male is too feminine, and every Democratic female is too…offputting and unglamorous, or aloof”. Then figure out how to rewrite that 2x weekly for fifteen years.

      However, highest praise to mentioning Charles M. Blow’s comment. He’s certianly not the waste of prime media real estate that Dowd is.

  • seethingsclearly

    Regrettably, the analyst’s opinions on today’s OnPoint were
    far too narrow.  In particular, when I
    heard academically-oriented George Edwards repeat the old bromide about  Ronald Reagan’s supposedly being a  “Great Communicator,” I suspected we were in
    for a circumscribed discussion about Obama and presidential leadership.


    What was missing from the conversation was a genuine perspective
    from the political left that begins by acknowledging several rather large
    elephants in the room:


    from being a liberal, Obama is actually guided by a deeply ingrained
    conservatism.  The right-wing
    assertion that Obama is a “radical” or “socialist” is so patently absurd
    that it doesn’t even merit a response.


    Democrats (with precious few exceptions such as Massachusetts Sen.
    Elizabeth Warren) are no saviors of the middle class, let alone the
    working class or the poor, on whom they have increasingly turned their
    backs since the Democratic Leadership Council took control of the party
    under Bill Clinton.


    Both Republicans
    and Democrats are permanently locked in a kabuki dance with the wealthiest
    and most powerful people in the U.S.,
    to which they are ultimately beholden.


    entire discussion would be moot if there were a truly broad-based, popular
    movement in response to the egregious disparity of wealth in our
    country.  It is the lack of such a
    movement – and the unfortunate powerlessness of the left, in the wake of
    the fizzled “Occupy” protests, to kick-start one – that ought to be of
    interest to NPR listeners, not the tribulations of Barack Obama as he
    struggles to wrest some legislative victories over the next few years from
    a recalcitrant, Republican-controlled Congress.


    Obama is not a “transformative” president.  He is not a populist.  He is an accommodator, eager to make
    backslapping deals with the likes of John Boehner in which he trades cuts in
    Social Security and Medicare as “bargaining chips” for minor tax increases
    on those who made out like bandits – at our expense – during the economic
    collapse of 2008.  He has always had the
    interests of corporate America
    uppermost in his mind, from before he even stepped into the Oval Office.  This was evident in his choice of Larry
    Summers and Timothy Geithner to head his economic team back in 2008.  He has willingly bought into the right-wing
    narrative about cutting the deficit and extolling the virtues of austerity (see
    Europe for how that policy is working out).


    All that one needs to know about Obama is encapsulated in a
    comment he made early in his presidency, in 2009, when he convened a meeting of
    top Wall Street bankers.  As recounted by
    Ron Suskind in the book “Confidence Men,” Obama pleaded with the bankers for their
    cooperation during the economic crisis by saying, “My administration is the
    only thing between you and the pitchforks.” He then continued:  “You guys have an acute public relations
    problem that’s turning into a political problem. And I want to help…I’m not out
    there to go after you. I’m protecting you…” 
    As Suskind put it so well in summarizing how the bankers felt after the
    meeting with Obama, there was“[n]othing to worry about. Whereas [FDR] had
    pushed for tough, viciously opposed reforms of Wall Street and famously said ‘I
    welcome their hate,’ Obama was saying ‘How can I help?’” According to one
    banker, “The sense of everyone after the meeting was relief. The president had
    us at a moment of real vulnerability. At that point, he could have ordered us
    to do just about anything and we would have rolled over. But he didn’t – he
    mostly wanted to help us out, to quell the mob.”


    So much for presidential leadership under Obama.


    It was the prospect of continued popular unrest and a highly
    class-conscious labor movement that propelled Franklin Roosevelt into concocting
    the New Deal.  It was the civil rights
    movement that pushed Lyndon Johnson into supporting the voting rights act.  Presidents respond to pressure.  And in the absence of a new, 21st century
    movement of economic justice by and for the majority of the population, politicians
    like Obama will, by default, respond to the interests of those with the deepest
    pockets.  No one should be surprised.


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Buck/100001539753289 Charles Buck

    Beverly Gage’s comment about “foreign crisis” being one of the ways presidents can re-establish their political relevance was probably the most salient point. Literally, as I listened to OnPoint during Thursday’s twilight, I watched several Air Force aerial refueling tankers leave Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 10 to 15 minute intervals in a heavily laden state of flight and swing east on a sequester-proof exercise. It appears Chuck Hagel’s open debate about arming the Syrian rebels is possibly already concluded and, how does the Pentagon say it, the results are being forward positioned for the commander in chief.

  • StilllHere

    Obama spent little time in government.  He has never been a consensus builder.  He leads from behind.  His time in the Illinois Senate is devoid of any accomplishment.  He always did only what he needed to in order to get elected and rise in office which in his case meant leaving as few fingerprints as possible.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Sixty is the new 51. Nuf ced.

  • ExcellentNews

    The global oligarchy has organized itself, and is speaking with a single voice to achieve some very well-defined goals (“tax cuts”, “inheritance tax cuts”, “jobs to Asia”, “no social safety net”…etc). 

    They are funding the Republican party to block anything this President wants to do, for a simple reason. Not because he is black, but because he was elected by the people and is trying to govern for the people. And the oligarchy will definitely not put up with that. If America has to go down the drain, so be it. What do they care anyway? They have over 30 TRILLION stashed in offshore accounts since the 80s. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.higby.1 Kenneth Higby


    26, 2013

    Mr. President;

    name is Kenneth Warren Higby Sr. I am 58 years of age and was born in
    Riverton, Wyoming of goodly parents. I am a Future Farmer of
    America, and I do believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith
    born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and
    past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days
    through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come
    to us from the struggles of former years.

    I believe that to live and
    work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits,
    is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and
    discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for
    those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot

    I believe in leadership from
    ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to
    work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as
    I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to
    serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the
    product of our toil.

    I believe in less dependence
    on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and
    enough honest wealth to help make it so–for others as well as
    myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being
    happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends
    upon me.

    President, I believe what is written and said in this creed, as my
    father and fore fathers did before me, and I have a great respect for
    you and the position you hold. It is for these reasons I am writing
    you this day.

    We as a nation of wealth beyond measure
    need to feed all people spiritually, intellectually, and physically
    one community at a time by building bio-greenhouses using 21st
    century technologies for disabled vets and unemployed Americans.

    I’m a disabled vet who works with
    disabled clients who need jobs to support themselves. I built a
    company Drake Global Inc. that will build 10,000 bio-greenhouses
    nation wide in rural communities to grow organic food in controlled
    environments, to supply local business with green produce 365 days a
    year in any climate.

    We need Fed funding to match local
    private funds to put the disabled to work nation wide at the rural
    level. This project will help feed the people of America spiritually,
    intellectually, and physically, using 21st century agricultural,
    biofuel, wind, and solar technologies.

    Putting other business to work
    supplying the materials and support needed to operate the
    bio-greenhouses is the goal of this project.

    I am committed to bringing economic
    change and job creation for all Americans and feed all men who are in
    need of shelter and jobs.

    you are well aware I am sure, the crises that face this nation are
    real indeed, and need to be addressed with swift and sure measures.
    Being a Future Farmer of America it is my duty, obligation, and
    responsibility to step up to the table with reasonable, and accurate
    knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of the solutions, and answers to
    the problems that face us as a nation in this time of crises.

    May we all be accepted of God because
    we are striving to become men and women of integrity.

    “it was as though the Lord had said [to him]: ‘Look, son. You
    don’t need any other organization. I have given you the greatest
    organization there is on the face of the earth. Nothing is greater
    than the priesthood organization. All in the world you need to do is
    to put the priesthood to work. That’s all.

    you have studied the doctrines and principles of the Church wide
    welfare plan, seek to apply what you have learned to the needs of
    those within your stewardship. What this means is that, in large
    measure, you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself. Every
    family, every congregation, every area of the world is different.
    There is no one-size-fits-all answer in Church welfare. It is a
    self-help program where individuals are responsible for personal
    self-reliance. Our resources include personal prayer, our own
    God-given talents and abilities, the assets available to us through
    our own families and extended family members, various community
    resources, and of course the caring support of priesthood quorums and
    the Relief Society. This will lead us through the inspired pattern of

    You’re going to have to chart a course that is consistent with
    the Lord’s doctrine and matches the circumstances of your
    geographic area. To implement divine welfare principles, you need not
    look always to Salt Lake City. Instead you need to look into the
    handbooks, into your heart, and into heaven. Trust the Lord’s
    inspiration and follow His way.

    In the end you must do in your area what disciples of Christ
    have done in every dispensation: counsel together, use all resources
    available, seek the inspiration of the Holy
    Ghost, ask the Lord for His confirmation, and then roll up your
    sleeves and go to work.

    The prophetic
    promises and blessings of Church welfare, of providing in the Lord’s
    way, are some of the most magnificent and sublime the Lord has
    pronounced upon His children. He said, “If thou draw out thy soul
    to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light
    rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord
    shall guide thee continually.”

    Whether we are rich or poor, regardless of where we live on this
    globe, we all need each other, for it is in sacrificing our time,
    talents, and resources that our spirits mature and become refined.

    This work of providing in the Lord’s way is not simply another
    item in the catalog of programs of the Church. It cannot be neglected
    or set aside. It is central to our doctrine; it is the essence of our
    religion. Brethren, it is our great and special privilege as
    priesthood holders to put the priesthood to work. We must not turn
    aside our hearts or our heads from becoming more self-reliant, caring
    better for the needy, and rendering compassionate service.

    The temporal is intertwined with the spiritual. God has given us
    this mortal experience and the temporal challenges that attend it as
    a laboratory where we can grow into the beings Heavenly Father wants
    us to become. May we understand the great duty and blessing that come
    from following and providing in the Lord’s way is my prayer in the
    name of Jesus Christ, amen.

    Sometimes we
    see welfare as simply another gospel topic—one of the many branches
    on the gospel tree. But I believe that in the Lord’s plan, our
    commitment to welfare principles should be at the very root of our
    faith and devotion to Him.

    Since the beginning of time, our Heavenly Father has spoken with
    great clarity on this subject: from the gentle plea, “If thou
    lovest me … thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy
    properties for their support”; to the direct command, “Remember
    in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for
    he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple”; to
    the forceful warning, “If any man shall take of the abundance which
    I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my
    gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift
    up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

    The two great
    commandments—to love God and our neighbor—are a joining of the
    temporal and the spiritual. It is important to note that these two
    commandments are called “great” because every other commandment
    hangs upon them. In other words, our personal, family,
    and Church priorities must begin here. All other goals and actions
    should spring from the fountain of these two great commandments—from
    our love for God and for our neighbor.

    Like two sides of a coin, the temporal and spiritual are

    The Giver of all life has proclaimed, “All things unto me are
    spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was
    temporal.” This means to me that “spiritual life is first of all
    a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it
    is to be lived.”

    Unfortunately, there are those who overlook the temporal because
    they consider it less important. They treasure the spiritual while
    minimizing the temporal. While it is important to have our thoughts
    inclined toward heaven, we miss the essence of our religion if our
    hands are not also inclined toward our fellowman.

    For example, Enoch built a Zion society through the spiritual
    process of creating a people of one heart and one mind and the
    temporal work of ensuring that there were “no poor among them.”

    As always, we can look to our perfect example, Jesus
    Christ, for a pattern. “When the Savior came upon the earth he
    had two great missions; one was to work out the Messiah-ship, the
    atonement for the fall, and the fulfillment of the law; the other was
    the work which he did among his brethren and sisters in the flesh by
    way of relieving their suffering.”

    In a similar way, our spiritual progress is inseparably bound
    together with the temporal service we give to others.

    The one complements the other. The one without the other is a
    counterfeit of God’s plan of happiness.

    This very hour
    there are many members of the Church, and non members alike who are
    suffering. They are hungry, stretched financially, and struggling
    with all manner of physical, emotional, and spiritual distress. They
    pray with all the energy of their souls for succor, for relief.

    My brethren, and sisters, Barack and all peoples of this nation
    and the world, please do not think that this is someone else’s
    responsibility. It is mine, and it is yours. We are all enlisted.
    “All” means all—every Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood
    holder,every person world wide, rich and poor, in every nation. In
    the Lord’s plan, there is something everyone can contribute.

    The lesson we learn generation after generation is that rich and
    poor alike are all under the same sacred obligation to help
    their neighbor. It will take all of us working together to
    successfully apply the principles of welfare and self-reliance within
    this nation and the world. However I do believe that if given a
    chance I can show you, this nations people, and the people of the
    world a new way to find and use the solutions that are available to
    us through the 21st century technologies already established and
    working now.

    Too often we notice the needs around us, hoping that someone from
    far away will magically appear to meet those needs. Perhaps we wait
    for experts with specialized knowledge to solve specific problems.
    When we do this, we deprive our world, our nation, our neighbor, and
    our family of the service we could render, and we deprive ourselves
    of the opportunity to serve. While there is nothing wrong with
    experts, let’s face it: there will never be enough of them to solve
    all the problems. Instead, the Lord has placed His priesthood and its
    organization at our doorsteps in every nation of the world, where the
    Church is established. And, right by its side, He has placed the
    Relief Society. As we priesthood holders know, no welfare effort is
    successful if it fails to make use of the remarkable gifts and
    talents of our sisters and brothers in the service of our Lord and
    Saviour Jesus Christ.

    The Lord’s way is not to sit at the side of the stream and wait
    for the water to pass before we cross. It is to come together, roll
    up our sleeves, go to work, and build a bridge or a boat to cross the
    waters of our challenges. We are men of Zion, priesthood holders, and
    are the ones who can lead out and bring relief to the Saints and all
    men of this world, by applying the inspired principles of the welfare
    program! It is our mission to open your eyes, use our priesthood, and
    go to work in the Lord’s way.

    There are many
    good people and organizations in the world that are trying to meet
    the pressing needs of the poor and needy everywhere. We are grateful
    for this, but the Lord’s way of caring for the needy is different
    from the world’s way. The Lord has said, “It must needs be done
    in mine own way.” He is not only interested in our immediate needs;
    He is also concerned about our eternal progression. For this reason,
    the Lord’s way has always included self-reliance and service to our
    neighbors in addition to caring for the poor.

    In 1941 the Gila River overflowed and flooded the Duncan Valley in
    Arizona. A young stake president by the name of Spencer W. Kimball
    met with his counselors, assessed the damage, and sent a telegram to
    Salt Lake City asking for a large sum of money.

    Instead of sending money, President Heber J. Grant sent three men:
    Henry D. Moyle, Marion G. Romney, and Harold B. Lee. They visited
    with President Kimball and taught him an important lesson: “This
    isn’t a program of ‘give me,’” they said. “This is a
    program of ‘self-help.’”

    Many years
    later, President Kimball said: “It would have been an easy thing, I
    think, for the Brethren to have sent us [the money,] and it wouldn’t
    have been too hard to sit in my office and distribute it; but what a
    lot of good came to us as we had hundreds of [our own] go to Duncan
    and build fences and haul the hay and level the ground and do all the
    things that needed doing. That is self-help.”

    By following the Lord’s way, the members of President Kimball’s
    stake not only had their immediate needs met, but they also developed
    self-reliance, alleviated suffering, and grew in love and unity as
    they served each other.

    Global Inc. was founded on the creed written by E. M.
    Tiffany, and shall use
    what so ever knowledge, understanding, and wisdom obtained past and
    present day within all the sciences combined with those of
    agricultural technologies that will be needed to bring about
    solutions and answers to the problems that face us. Drake Global
    Incorporates. creed to feed mankind spiritually, intellectually, and
    physically, through emergency preparedness and rural self
    sustainability, with all sciences being combined with the
    agricultural technologies past, present, and future will insure
    success of the projects that I am proposing to you.

    emergency preparedness; Rural waste recovery: Rural self
    sustainability: Rural to national out reach:

    to county out reach: Rural to state out reach: Rural to
    international out reach:

    humbly request a conference with you on these matters that I believe
    will greatly profit this nation and the world.

    Warren Higby Sr.

    Drake Global Inc.

  • gslouch

    I admit I do harbor annoyance at the president for continually inviting the Repubs to steak dinners to discuss matters.  It’s a nice gesture ,but this is the party of No we’re talking about.   However, when I think about it, what else can this president do!?   A party that walks a way from a background check bill for all gun sales.   Heck, it was only twenty little kids!  A party that would rather hold America hostage than find a solution tom the sequester.  This is no ordinary congress, rather, it is inhabited by a poisonous group of politicians that cling to conservative philosophy rather than governing for the American people.
         I am sincerely afraid that for his second term, president Obama will be limited to keeping our country on an even keel, despite his potential for being a great leader.  My sincerest good wishes to our president for remaining a leader of integrity with a unwavering willingness to compromise.

    • seethingsclearly


       I think it is the
      height of naivete to believe that Obama’s brand of so-called “compromise” is
      anything but detrimental to the interests of the majority – to YOUR interests,
      if I may say.  Obama is a deeply
      conservative person who masquerades as a traditional liberal but whose main
      concern is with the affairs of the wealthy and most powerful.  Perceptive commentators (e.g., Paul
      Street in his many blogs for ZCommunications) and
      authors such as Thomas Frank (“Pity the Billionaire”) have made this clear as
      day.  A recent article in the Huffington
      Post shows, as do many others, that Obama had Social Secuirty and Medicare in
      his sights long before he became president:




      Obama has seen it as his personal crusade to go where no
      Democrat has dared to go before:  to
      begin unraveling the social safety net that is the foremost legacy of the
      Democrats since the Great Depression.  His
      policies are entirely consistent with those of President George Bush senior in
      the early 1990’s.  He will go down in
      history as a betrayer of traditional liberal causes.  He is not a reformer.  He is a gift to Wall Street, the right wing,
      and Republicans, because he does things his supporters would never tolerate if
      a Republican did them.  He does the
      bidding of the enemies of reform and of social and economic justice, all the
      while pretending that there is no alternative and that his is the only
      rational, adult voice in the room.  That
      is nonsense.  He never had any interest
      in fighting for liberal values, only in trashing them and taking for granted
      liberal support while turning his back upon liberals.  He is a disaster for the causes dear to
      liberals and has set back genuine reform for a generation.  

Sep 18, 2014
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A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

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