Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Obama Just Cannot Win

When the gun control bill failed, my first reaction was “How will the left blame this on Obama?”

Despite speeches, a lobbying effort, and a tough response, Only 55 Senators supported the bill (Reid switched his vote so he could bring it up again).

The recent fights have lead a number of pundits, from Ezra Klein to Joan Walsh, to admit the bully pulpit sometimes does not work. (See: Jedi Mind Meld).

Then comes Maureen Dowd, in a column that I saw thanks to a tweet from a Democratic candidate for NYS Senate who agrees with her assertion. The gun control bill failed because of Obama, and only Obama.

He doesn’t know how to ‘govern” or “lead” and he needs to be more like Michael Douglas in The American President…seriously.

Unfortunately a number of people are tweeting her column, saying how it’s insightful and how they agree.

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.

Because this is where Maureen Dowd shines, knowing how to govern. (Sarcasm)

It’s unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.

Oh MoDo, how can he make Senators FEAR him?

The White House should have created a war room full of charts with the names of pols they had to capture, like they had in “The American President.” Soaring speeches have their place, but this was about blocking and tackling.

What? You are comparing real life to a movie by Aaron Sorkin?!?! Seriously? And also, you don’t think they did this? You don’t think that’s why they sent families to lobby specific senators like Susan Collins and Mark Kirk?

Tell us, oh wonderous Dowd, how Obama could have been more of a bully.

The president was oblivious to red-state Democrats facing tough elections. Bring the Alaskan Democrat Mark Begich to the White House residence, hand him a drink, and say, “How can we make this a bill you can vote for and defend?”

That’s your idea? A beer summit? The very thing you’ve mocked President Obama for doing before?

Maureen Dowd on healthcare, Sept. 2009

President Obama is so wrapped up in his desire to be a different, more conciliatory, beer-summit kind of leader, he ignores some verities.

Beer Summit in 2009, bad, but in 2013, it’s good leadership.

Sometimes you must leave the high road and fetch your brass knuckles. Obama should have called Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota over to the Oval Office and put on the squeeze: “Heidi, you’re brand new and you’re going to have a long career. You work with us, we’ll work with you. Public opinion is moving fast on this issue. The reason you get a six-year term is so you can have the guts to make tough votes. This is a totally defensible bill back home. It’s about background checks, nothing to do with access to guns. Heidi, you’re a mother. Think of those little kids dying in schoolrooms.”

Oh that’s really tough there, Dowd. Boy you really showed Heidi, a Senator up for reelection TWO YEARS after Obama leaves office.

Obama had to persuade some Republican senators in states that he won in 2012. He should have gone out to Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada and had big rallies to get the public riled up to put pressure on Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte and Dean Heller, giving notice that they would pay a price if they spurned him on this.

After years, and a half a column, telling us speeches don’t work, she now suggests Obama go to these states and…wait for it…give speeches.

Tom Coburn, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, is one of the few people on the Hill that the president actually considers a friend. Obama wrote a paean to Coburn in the new Time 100 issue, which came out just as Coburn sabotaged his own initial effort to help the bill.

Obama should have pressed his buddy: “Hey, Tom, just this once, why don’t you do more than just talk about making an agreement with the Democrats? You’re not running again. Do something big.”

Oh that’ll do it. The junior senator from Okla-fucking-home is going to just fall to Obama’s feet with this kind of tough talk.

This is your idea of brass balls, Maureen? This is your idea of getting down in the weeds? You talk about how Obama needs to be tougher and then give examples where you suggest he…ask nicely.

Maureen Dowd’s column is nothing more than red meat for Hillary dead enders still suffering from deep bitterness over 2008 and angry that their opinion of Obama hasn’t gone mainstream.

But this column also risks the possibility that the left ignore the NRA’s power and the Senate’s tactics and place blame where they feel more comfortable; Obama. Allowing them to live in the mentality that it’s one man, not the system, that’s the problem and it once again can be fixed with one vote.

Sadly, the right knows this and that’s why they will continue their obstructionism. No consequences. The left will deflect the blame.

Though I’d imagine when President Hillary Clinton fails to push gun control through, Dowd will talk about how brilliantly she performed.  


  1. Shaun Appleby

    We have created a ‘cult’ around Obama’s presidency which doesn’t seem to invite realism:

    President Obama is plagued by too many supporters who bivouac in two distinct idealistic camps, which are nonetheless unified by an indefatigable belief in the cult of the presidency.

    P M Carpenter – Enough with the CultThink; it’s only hurting the president P M Carpenter’s Commentary 21 Apr 13

    I’m a bit guilty of being in the “eleventy-dimensional chess” camp, myself, to be sure.

  2. louisprandtl

    Or Dowd actually fawning over Hillary??? The diarist’s effort to deconstruct Dowd’s article resulted in the conclusions which are far fetched and out of touch with reality.

  3. He has read the history lessons. Today is different. We don’t have a functioning government like that of the past. The repubs know it. They are determined to NOT allow any successes by this admin if they can help it.

    Their hope is to reach power in all 3 branches of government. They want to have what is present in many red states with governor, senate, and house all repub controlled. For all the talk in DC about how the GOP wants to do this and that, blah blah blah, the real story of governing by repubs is shown in those states. Look at their records. Giant leaps backward, focus on abortion, getting into your bed with you and your spouse, resisting any and all efforts at marriage equality, reducing voter rights, and the list goes on.

    Obama didn’t fail. Our society is failing. He happens to be the one in the headlines.

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