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Bob Woodward's Book Detailing Obama's Failure to Lead

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Here's the ABC News article summarizing many of Woodward's observations and interviews:

"An explosive mix of dysfunction, miscommunication, and misunderstandings inside and outside the White House led to the collapse of a historic spending and debt deal that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner were on the verge of reaching last summer, according to revelations in author Bob Woodward's latest book.

The book, "The Price of Politics," on sale Sept. 11, 2012, shows how close the president and the House speaker were to defying Washington odds and establishing a spending framework that included both new revenues and major changes to long-sacred entitlement programs. "The Price of Politics" examines the struggles between Obama and the Congress for the three and a half years, between 2009 and the summer of 2012. It offers exclusive behind the scenes access to what the President and the Republicans did, or rather failed to do.

But at one critical juncture, with an agreement tantalizingly close, Obama pressed Boehner for additional taxes as part of a final deal -- a miscalculation, in retrospect, given how far the House speaker felt he'd already gone.

The president called three times to speak with Boehner about his latest offer, according to Woodward. But the speaker didn't return the president's phone call for most of an agonizing day, in what Woodward calls a "monumental communications lapse" between two of the most powerful men in the country.

When Boehner finally did call back, he jettisoned the entire deal. Obama lost his famous cool, according to Woodward, with a "flash of pure fury" coming from the president; one staffer in the room said Obama gripped the phone so tightly he thought he would break it.

"He was spewing coals," Boehner told Woodward, in what is described as a borderline "presidential tirade."

"He was pissed…. He wasn't going to get a damn dime more out of me. He knew how far out on a limb I was. But he was hot. It was clear to me that coming to an agreement with him was not going to happen, and that I had to go to Plan B."

Tune in to "World News with Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline" on Monday September 10, 2012 to see Diane Sawyer's exclusive interview with Bob Woodward

Accounts of the final proposal that led to the deal's collapse continue to differ sharply. The president says he was merely raising the possibility of putting more revenue into the package, while Boehner maintains that the president needed $400 billion more, despite an earlier agreement of no more than $800 billion in total revenue, derived through tax reform.

Obama and his aides argue that the House speaker backed away from a deal because he couldn't stand the political heat inside his own party – or even, perhaps, get the votes to pass the compromise. They say he took the president's proposal for more revenue as an excuse to pull out of talks altogether.

"I was pretty angry," the president told Woodward about the breakdown in negotiations. "There's no doubt I thought it was profoundly irresponsible, at that stage, not to call me back immediately and let me know what was going on."

The failure of Obama to connect with Boehner was vaguely reminiscent of another phone call late in the evening of Election Day 2010, after it became clear that the Republicans would take control of the House, making Boehner Speaker of the House.

Nobody in the Obama orbit could even find the soon-to-be-speaker's phone number, Woodward reports. A Democratic Party aide finally secured it through a friend so the president could offer congratulations.

While questions persist about whether any grand bargain reached by the principals could have actually passed in the Tea Party-dominated Congress, Woodward issues a harsh judgment on White House and congressional leaders for failing to act boldly at a moment of crisis. Particular blame falls on the president.

"It was increasingly clear that no one was running Washington. That was trouble for everyone, but especially for Obama," Woodward writes.

For all the finger-pointing now, Obama and Boehner appear to have developed a rapport during the negotiations. The Illinois Democrat bonded with the Ohio Republican, starting with a much-publicized "golf summit" and continuing through long, substantive chats on the Truman Balcony and the patio right outside the Oval Office.

Boehner was drinking Merlot and smoking cigarettes, Obama sipping iced tea and chomping Nicorette. Obama, who had quit smoking by the time, wasn't offered a cigarette by Boehner and didn't ask for any, though he told Woodward he always made sure an ashtray was available for him. The two men were divided by ideology but united in looking for a legacy-making moment – even if it meant sacrificing their own jobs.

"I would willingly lose an election if I was able to actually resolve this in a way that was right," Obama told Woodward about his mindset at the time, comparing the debt negotiations to the decision to strike Osama bin Laden's compound.

Boehner voiced a similar desire to accomplish something big on spending: "I need this job like I need a hole in the head," he told Woodward. Yet top deputies loomed large over the negotiations. Vice President Joe Biden was labeled the "McConnell whisperer" by White House aides for his ability to cut deals with the often implacable Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The vice president led a parallel set of bipartisan talks that reached breakthroughs without the president's direct involvement.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is depicted as more in touch with the Republican caucus that elected Boehner speaker, particularly with its strong contingent of tea party freshmen who came to Washington pledging to put the brakes on federal spending at any cost.

Cantor, Woodward writes, viewed Boehner as a "runaway horse" who needed reining in, given the realities of his own caucus. The Boehner-Obama talks started without Cantor's knowledge, and Boehner later acknowledged to the president that Cantor was working against the very deal they were trying to reach, according to Woodward.

Intriguingly, Cantor and Biden frequently had "private asides" after larger meetings, according to Woodward. After one of them, Woodward writes that Biden told Cantor: "You know, if I were doing this, I'd do it totally different."

"Well, if I were running the Republican conference, I'd do it totally different," Cantor replied, according to Woodward.

Woodward writes: "They agreed that if they were in charge, they could come to a deal."

With the president taking charge, though, Obama found that he had little history with members of Congress to draw on. His administration's early decision to forego bipartisanship for the sake of speed around the stimulus bill was encapsulated by his then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel: "We have the votes. F--- 'em," he's quoted in the book as saying. "

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/bob-woodward-book-debt-deal-collapse-led-pure/story?id=17104635&page=4

(Continued in replies)

 

What do you think of Woodward's evaluation? 

 

The most pressing social issue today is the economy

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by on Sep. 30, 2012 at 1:33 PM
Replies (21-30):
Meadowchik
by Gold Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 3:46 AM

 

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 

Quoting 7SportsMom7:

I appreciated your honest assessment of how you viewed BO and what hope meant to you ... and then I got to your adamant blame, for what I see as his failures, on the Repbulicans.  A true leader has the capability of adjusting his/her style for the task at hand.  

The health care debacle alone is what made me realize what a poor leader he really was going to be, what lengths the Democrats really would go through to get what the want, and what a scary path we would be on the future.  


Here's the thing:

Currently in Congress, both the House and Senate - but especially the House - has little incentive to work together.  A House Republican (and I will be using Republicans in my example, here) will not get re-elected if he is seen as someone who works with the President.  So there's no incentive to even show up to the table, lest they be labled a RINO, and get kicked out of office.

Within three days of the President's Inaugeration, Republican leadership had a meeting and decided the single most important goal of the next four years was getting Obama out of office.  When the health care debate came up -- despite that it was based on a Republican idea -- they refused to contribute ideas, lest they be seen as compromising with a Democrat.

No leadership style can deal with a system where the incentive is not to work with the leader. 

This current, sorry, state, is pretty new.  It's been bad, but it's gotten exponentially worse.  Even the wives of politicians down't talk to eachother.  In DC, everyone in Congress used to socialize and even live here, so there was opportunity to talk to and respect eachother as fellow human beings.

It's changed.  A lot.

In my personal opinion, it's the second worst thing in politics today.  And, frankly, neither Obama or Romney has actually talked about how they would deal with it in office.

Thank to you and 7SportsMom7 for both your comments.

Denuninami, the point you made about Obama's "debate referree" (my words for your description) style is interesting. 

I agree with 7Sports that it is the job of a leader to create incentive for people to work together.  Romney is able to work with both sides, he is able to make the effective pitch for ideas, to the people involved in the process.  On the other hand, Obama seems to work from a different angle, pitching his ideas to the general public instead of working intensely with lawmakers. 

The ACA is a great example of this, where Obama did dozens of appearances, speeches, ect...one day doing 5 separate television interviews, and the end result was pathetic.  The public was still not convinced.  Obama's own words to John Boehner are the worst indictment when he tells Boehner to trust his ability to persuade the American people.  

One could say that Obama's persuasive style is crafted for a direct democracy, but in America people elect representatives to hash out details and report back to them.  When the voters get the message from their representatives that the POTUS is not persuading Congress, then the persuasive arguments to the voters is considered insincere. Obama seems to be ill-equipped to mesh with the fundamental nature of our representative government.  That does not mean he has not gotten some things done.  He has. But so would any other semi-intelligent person with an army of advisors.

 

Jambo4
by Gold Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 10:23 AM


Quoting Meadowchik:

 

Quoting MsDenuninani:


Quoting 7SportsMom7:

I appreciated your honest assessment of how you viewed BO and what hope meant to you ... and then I got to your adamant blame, for what I see as his failures, on the Repbulicans.  A true leader has the capability of adjusting his/her style for the task at hand.  

The health care debacle alone is what made me realize what a poor leader he really was going to be, what lengths the Democrats really would go through to get what the want, and what a scary path we would be on the future.  


Here's the thing:

Currently in Congress, both the House and Senate - but especially the House - has little incentive to work together.  A House Republican (and I will be using Republicans in my example, here) will not get re-elected if he is seen as someone who works with the President.  So there's no incentive to even show up to the table, lest they be labled a RINO, and get kicked out of office.

Within three days of the President's Inaugeration, Republican leadership had a meeting and decided the single most important goal of the next four years was getting Obama out of office.  When the health care debate came up -- despite that it was based on a Republican idea -- they refused to contribute ideas, lest they be seen as compromising with a Democrat.

No leadership style can deal with a system where the incentive is not to work with the leader. 

This current, sorry, state, is pretty new.  It's been bad, but it's gotten exponentially worse.  Even the wives of politicians down't talk to eachother.  In DC, everyone in Congress used to socialize and even live here, so there was opportunity to talk to and respect eachother as fellow human beings.

It's changed.  A lot.

In my personal opinion, it's the second worst thing in politics today.  And, frankly, neither Obama or Romney has actually talked about how they would deal with it in office.

Thank to you and 7SportsMom7 for both your comments.

Denuninami, the point you made about Obama's "debate referree" (my words for your description) style is interesting. 

I agree with 7Sports that it is the job of a leader to create incentive for people to work together.  Romney is able to work with both sides, he is able to make the effective pitch for ideas, to the people involved in the process.  On the other hand, Obama seems to work from a different angle, pitching his ideas to the general public instead of working intensely with lawmakers. 

The ACA is a great example of this, where Obama did dozens of appearances, speeches, ect...one day doing 5 separate television interviews, and the end result was pathetic.  The public was still not convinced.  Obama's own words to John Boehner are the worst indictment when he tells Boehner to trust his ability to persuade the American people.  

One could say that Obama's persuasive style is crafted for a direct democracy, but in America people elect representatives to hash out details and report back to them.  When the voters get the message from their representatives that the POTUS is not persuading Congress, then the persuasive arguments to the voters is considered insincere. Obama seems to be ill-equipped to mesh with the fundamental nature of our representative government.  That does not mean he has not gotten some things done.  He has. But so would any other semi-intelligent person with an army of advisors.

 

clapping

Think of the little ones... Americans can't bear another 4 years of Obama!
 
Speak out, all Mama Bears on behalf of our children! 

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:10 PM


Quoting Meadowchik:

 

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 

Quoting 7SportsMom7:

I appreciated your honest assessment of how you viewed BO and what hope meant to you ... and then I got to your adamant blame, for what I see as his failures, on the Repbulicans.  A true leader has the capability of adjusting his/her style for the task at hand.  

The health care debacle alone is what made me realize what a poor leader he really was going to be, what lengths the Democrats really would go through to get what the want, and what a scary path we would be on the future.  


Here's the thing:

Currently in Congress, both the House and Senate - but especially the House - has little incentive to work together.  A House Republican (and I will be using Republicans in my example, here) will not get re-elected if he is seen as someone who works with the President.  So there's no incentive to even show up to the table, lest they be labled a RINO, and get kicked out of office.

Within three days of the President's Inaugeration, Republican leadership had a meeting and decided the single most important goal of the next four years was getting Obama out of office.  When the health care debate came up -- despite that it was based on a Republican idea -- they refused to contribute ideas, lest they be seen as compromising with a Democrat.

No leadership style can deal with a system where the incentive is not to work with the leader. 

This current, sorry, state, is pretty new.  It's been bad, but it's gotten exponentially worse.  Even the wives of politicians down't talk to eachother.  In DC, everyone in Congress used to socialize and even live here, so there was opportunity to talk to and respect eachother as fellow human beings.

It's changed.  A lot.

In my personal opinion, it's the second worst thing in politics today.  And, frankly, neither Obama or Romney has actually talked about how they would deal with it in office.

Thank to you and 7SportsMom7 for both your comments.

Denuninami, the point you made about Obama's "debate referree" (my words for your description) style is interesting. 

I agree with 7Sports that it is the job of a leader to create incentive for people to work together.  Romney is able to work with both sides, he is able to make the effective pitch for ideas, to the people involved in the process.  On the other hand, Obama seems to work from a different angle, pitching his ideas to the general public instead of working intensely with lawmakers. 

The ACA is a great example of this, where Obama did dozens of appearances, speeches, ect...one day doing 5 separate television interviews, and the end result was pathetic.  The public was still not convinced.  Obama's own words to John Boehner are the worst indictment when he tells Boehner to trust his ability to persuade the American people.  

One could say that Obama's persuasive style is crafted for a direct democracy, but in America people elect representatives to hash out details and report back to them.  When the voters get the message from their representatives that the POTUS is not persuading Congress, then the persuasive arguments to the voters is considered insincere. Obama seems to be ill-equipped to mesh with the fundamental nature of our representative government.  That does not mean he has not gotten some things done.  He has. But so would any other semi-intelligent person with an army of advisors.

 

I agree with 7Sports that it is the job of a leader to create incentive for people to work together. 

I don't think there is only one style fo leadership, and I profoundly disagree with you that Obama is not one. I think that leadership can also be made by motivating people through a call to duty.

One could say that Obama's persuasive style is crafted for a direct democracy, but in America people elect representatives to hash out details and report back to them. 

With all due respect, that's your view.  I think people elect representatives to represent their best interests on their behalf.  If it was simply about the ability to get something done and report back, we'd just have a monarchy.  In America, we vote based on a gut instinct that this person is in the race for them.

Romney is able to work with both sides, he is able to make the effective pitch for ideas, to the people involved in the process. 

You're taking that on faith, not on experience.  Both Romney's experience at Bain, and his experieince in Massachusetts are vastly different than what he would face in Congress.  In both prior scenarios, the incentives were already in place to work with him, because all leaders were essentially serving the same populace; in this case they are not. 

But, then, even if I were to take it that they were, then what you are telling me is that Romney is an effective leader to sell his incredibly conservative ideas (according to you, who has said that he's a real conservative) to the public.  Yet, during the primaries, Romney was barely able to even move his own party to choose him (we all know he was the default candidate); and he has largely failed to sell his ideas to America at large.   He's been running, essentially, as a reasonable alternative to the Obama administration -- not as a big thinker or someone who has a grand vision of where America should be.

But back to Obama - let's compare Obama's experience with the ACA with Bush's experience trying to reform Social Security.  Bush had a "mandate', and could not sell it to the American people.  Obama did not have a mandate -- but he made the moral case to people who did not have the incentives to do it.  Obama's best ability is to make the moral case for doing something, even if it is not politically sensible.   I agree that his attempts to sell it to the American public were amiss; but I don't think that is because of a failure of leadership.  The American peoples' jobs were done -- they'd elected him.  It was up to Congress at that point.

Obama was elected four years ago, in part, because he knew Americans wanted change - and, to me, that meant change in how Washington was doing things.  He was the only candidate at the time who recognized that need.  He still is.

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:35 PM


Quoting 7SportsMom7:

Now, if the Dems play the same stubborn games Repbus did should Romney be elected, he will have his chance to make a difference or we will all be in for four more bad years.


 

Ugh.  Here's the thing, and it pisses me off to no end, but I don't think it will ever change: Democrats are more interested in governing than Republicans are.  At the end of the day, democrats believe in government, and they believe that government should work.  Republicans, philosophically, do not share the same beliefs. If they stall the process and don't do anything, government doesn't function, and they can go back and say "See!  we told you government doesn't work!".   Note that in your sentence there, you implicitly acknowledge that stubborn games were played, and essentially say that Democrats should give a mythical Romney presidency a chance. 

 In other words, they should have a better, stronger moral fiber, and recognize their obligation to do what's in the best interests of their constiuents, than Republicans have done in the past four years.

I agree. 

Meadowchik
by Gold Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks for the response. 

The United States is a representative republic.  It is not a direct democracy.  I the areas where consensus is needed among a majority of legislatures, Obama's style is to rely more heavily on going to the people instead of working with legislators, which is more closely tailored than a different form of government. Of course the people need to be persuaded, too, that is important, but it is more effectively if done both directly and through the representatives, who do literally and legally serve as the go betweens between the federal government and the people.

As far as Romneycare, it's true that Romney did not pursue a plan that most of the citizens opposed. Obama did. See that?  And speaking of the moral case, Romney balanced the budget first, and passed Romneycare without raising taxes.  Furthermore, Romney did work intensely with the legislators, with experts, and with the insurance side most effected by the new law. 

 

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 

Quoting Meadowchik:

 

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 

Quoting 7SportsMom7:

I appreciated your honest assessment of how you viewed BO and what hope meant to you ... and then I got to your adamant blame, for what I see as his failures, on the Repbulicans.  A true leader has the capability of adjusting his/her style for the task at hand.  

The health care debacle alone is what made me realize what a poor leader he really was going to be, what lengths the Democrats really would go through to get what the want, and what a scary path we would be on the future.  


Here's the thing:

Currently in Congress, both the House and Senate - but especially the House - has little incentive to work together.  A House Republican (and I will be using Republicans in my example, here) will not get re-elected if he is seen as someone who works with the President.  So there's no incentive to even show up to the table, lest they be labled a RINO, and get kicked out of office.

Within three days of the President's Inaugeration, Republican leadership had a meeting and decided the single most important goal of the next four years was getting Obama out of office.  When the health care debate came up -- despite that it was based on a Republican idea -- they refused to contribute ideas, lest they be seen as compromising with a Democrat.

No leadership style can deal with a system where the incentive is not to work with the leader. 

This current, sorry, state, is pretty new.  It's been bad, but it's gotten exponentially worse.  Even the wives of politicians down't talk to eachother.  In DC, everyone in Congress used to socialize and even live here, so there was opportunity to talk to and respect eachother as fellow human beings.

It's changed.  A lot.

In my personal opinion, it's the second worst thing in politics today.  And, frankly, neither Obama or Romney has actually talked about how they would deal with it in office.

Thank to you and 7SportsMom7 for both your comments.

Denuninami, the point you made about Obama's "debate referree" (my words for your description) style is interesting. 

I agree with 7Sports that it is the job of a leader to create incentive for people to work together.  Romney is able to work with both sides, he is able to make the effective pitch for ideas, to the people involved in the process.  On the other hand, Obama seems to work from a different angle, pitching his ideas to the general public instead of working intensely with lawmakers. 

The ACA is a great example of this, where Obama did dozens of appearances, speeches, ect...one day doing 5 separate television interviews, and the end result was pathetic.  The public was still not convinced.  Obama's own words to John Boehner are the worst indictment when he tells Boehner to trust his ability to persuade the American people.  

One could say that Obama's persuasive style is crafted for a direct democracy, but in America people elect representatives to hash out details and report back to them.  When the voters get the message from their representatives that the POTUS is not persuading Congress, then the persuasive arguments to the voters is considered insincere. Obama seems to be ill-equipped to mesh with the fundamental nature of our representative government.  That does not mean he has not gotten some things done.  He has. But so would any other semi-intelligent person with an army of advisors.

 

I agree with 7Sports that it is the job of a leader to create incentive for people to work together. 

I don't think there is only one style fo leadership, and I profoundly disagree with you that Obama is not one. I think that leadership can also be made by motivating people through a call to duty.

One could say that Obama's persuasive style is crafted for a direct democracy, but in America people elect representatives to hash out details and report back to them. 

With all due respect, that's your view.  I think people elect representatives to represent their best interests on their behalf.  If it was simply about the ability to get something done and report back, we'd just have a monarchy.  In America, we vote based on a gut instinct that this person is in the race for them.

Romney is able to work with both sides, he is able to make the effective pitch for ideas, to the people involved in the process. 

You're taking that on faith, not on experience.  Both Romney's experience at Bain, and his experieince in Massachusetts are vastly different than what he would face in Congress.  In both prior scenarios, the incentives were already in place to work with him, because all leaders were essentially serving the same populace; in this case they are not. 

But, then, even if I were to take it that they were, then what you are telling me is that Romney is an effective leader to sell his incredibly conservative ideas (according to you, who has said that he's a real conservative) to the public.  Yet, during the primaries, Romney was barely able to even move his own party to choose him (we all know he was the default candidate); and he has largely failed to sell his ideas to America at large.   He's been running, essentially, as a reasonable alternative to the Obama administration -- not as a big thinker or someone who has a grand vision of where America should be.

But back to Obama - let's compare Obama's experience with the ACA with Bush's experience trying to reform Social Security.  Bush had a "mandate', and could not sell it to the American people.  Obama did not have a mandate -- but he made the moral case to people who did not have the incentives to do it.  Obama's best ability is to make the moral case for doing something, even if it is not politically sensible.   I agree that his attempts to sell it to the American public were amiss; but I don't think that is because of a failure of leadership.  The American peoples' jobs were done -- they'd elected him.  It was up to Congress at that point.

Obama was elected four years ago, in part, because he knew Americans wanted change - and, to me, that meant change in how Washington was doing things.  He was the only candidate at the time who recognized that need.  He still is.

 

The most pressing social issue today is the economy

Visit Mitt Romney for President, CafeMom Group

7SportsMom7
by Bronze Member on Oct. 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

ETA:  Comments in red ...

Quoting MsDenuninani:


Quoting 7SportsMom7:

Now, if the Dems play the same stubborn games Repbus did should Romney be elected, he will have his chance to make a difference or we will all be in for four more bad years.



Ugh.  Here's the thing, and it pisses me off to no end, but I don't think it will ever change: Democrats are more interested in governing than Republicans are.  At the end of the day, democrats believe in government, and they believe that government should work.  Republicans, philosophically, do not share the same beliefs. If they stall the process and don't do anything, government doesn't function, and they can go back and say "See!  we told you government doesn't work!".   Note that in your sentence there, you implicitly acknowledge that stubborn games were played, and essentially say that Democrats should give a mythical Romney presidency a chance. 

I'm not sure it will ever change either and I think politics is an ugly game, so yes I agree, there are games played ON BOTH SIDES.  If you think the Dems didn't play games with health care, you are kidding yourself.  I also agree that Dems are more interested in goverment intervention but absolutely disagree that all Repubs only want govern by playing games.  

I thought we were having a good converstation about understanding the other side but not so much ... it sounds like you only want to blame Repubs for all that's wrong. 

 In other words, they should have a better, stronger moral fiber, and recognize their obligation to do what's in the best interests of their constiuents, than Republicans have done in the past four years.

It sounds to me like you are twisting words to fit what you want to believe.  There are good Dems and good Repubs in office ... and there are some really bad ones on both sides. To generalize parties is foolish to me ... some of my very best friends are Dems and we can discuss issues ... we often agree to disagree or open our minds to understanding where the other is coming from.  In my opinion, I there are many areas people cross over in party beliefs but we are so divided right now, it's almost "shameful" to admit such.

I agree. 


Meadowchik
by Gold Member on Oct. 11, 2012 at 8:57 AM

 Here's an article with an excerpt about Obama's character traits and foreign relations. I am going to make a post out of it, but it goes with this one, too:  it's that Obama seems to value is speeches as his key power plays, rather than working directly with legislators or other leaders:


Quote:

"The tensions between Mr. Obama and the Gulf states, both American and Arab diplomats say, derive from an Obama character trait: he has not built many personal relationships with foreign leaders. “He’s not good with personal relationships; that’s not what interests him,” said one United States diplomat. “But in the Middle East, those relationships are essential. The lack of them deprives D.C. of the ability to influence leadership decisions.”

A Lack of Chemistry

Arab officials echo that sentiment, describing Mr. Obama as a cool, cerebral man who discounts the importance of personal chemistry in politics. “You can’t fix these problems by remote control,” said one Arab diplomat with long experience in Washington. “He doesn’t have friends who are world leaders. He doesn’t believe in patting anybody on the back, nicknames.

“You can’t accomplish what you want to accomplish” with such an impersonal style, the diplomat said.

Mr. Obama’s advisers argue that when he does reach out, he is more effective — as in a phone call last week to Mohamed Morsi, the new president of Egypt. After Mr. Morsi’s initial tepid response to the attacks on the embassy in Cairo, a fed-up Mr. Obama demanded a show of support. Within an hour, he had it.

“Were he to be calling all the time, it would run counter to our assertion that we won’t dictate the outcome of every decision in every country,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a top national security aide. Limiting his outreach, Mr. Rhodes said, “heightens the impact of presidential engagement” when Mr. Obama does get on the phone.

Still, there remains concern in the administration that at any moment, events could spiral out of control, leaving the president and his advisers questioning their belief that their early support for the Arab Spring would deflect longstanding public anger toward the United States.

For instance, Mr. Feltman, the former assistant secretary of state, said, “the event I find politically most disturbing is the attack on Embassy Tunis.” Angry protesters breached the grounds of the American diplomatic compound there last week — in a country previously known for its moderation and secularism — despite Mr. Obama’s early support for the democracy movement there. “That really shakes me out of complacency about what I thought I knew.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/us/politics/arab-spring-proves-a-harsh-test-for-obamas-diplomatic-skill.html?pagewanted=all


The most pressing social issue today is the economy

Visit Mitt Romney for President, CafeMom Group

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:00 PM


Quoting 7SportsMom7:

ETA:  Comments in red ...

Quoting MsDenuninani:

 

Quoting 7SportsMom7:

Now, if the Dems play the same stubborn games Repbus did should Romney be elected, he will have his chance to make a difference or we will all be in for four more bad years.


 

Ugh.  Here's the thing, and it pisses me off to no end, but I don't think it will ever change: Democrats are more interested in governing than Republicans are.  At the end of the day, democrats believe in government, and they believe that government should work.  Republicans, philosophically, do not share the same beliefs. If they stall the process and don't do anything, government doesn't function, and they can go back and say "See!  we told you government doesn't work!".   Note that in your sentence there, you implicitly acknowledge that stubborn games were played, and essentially say that Democrats should give a mythical Romney presidency a chance. 

I'm not sure it will ever change either and I think politics is an ugly game, so yes I agree, there are games played ON BOTH SIDES.  If you think the Dems didn't play games with health care, you are kidding yourself.  I also agree that Dems are more interested in goverment intervention but absolutely disagree that all Repubs only want govern by playing games.  

I thought we were having a good converstation about understanding the other side but not so much ... it sounds like you only want to blame Repubs for all that's wrong. 

 In other words, they should have a better, stronger moral fiber, and recognize their obligation to do what's in the best interests of their constiuents, than Republicans have done in the past four years.

It sounds to me like you are twisting words to fit what you want to believe.  There are good Dems and good Repubs in office ... and there are some really bad ones on both sides. To generalize parties is foolish to me ... some of my very best friends are Dems and we can discuss issues ... we often agree to disagree or open our minds to understanding where the other is coming from.  In my opinion, I there are many areas people cross over in party beliefs but we are so divided right now, it's almost "shameful" to admit such.

I agree. 

 

I know you've probably moved on, but I just want to clarify one thing.

I'm not blaming Republicans, as a party, or individuals who are Republicans or individuals with Republican beliefs. 

I'm blaming the current crop of Republicans who are right now in Congress, the ones who are more afraid of being labeled a RINO than they are intersted in doing their jobs.  And, just as a backdrop, let me add that I am not a Democrat who believes that Democrats must hold their party more sacred than doing the best by their constiuents.  I've never called Lieberman a turncoat, for example. 

I don't believe I've twisted your words to reflect a meaning that they didn't have, but I will fully acknowledge looking into your words for implicit support in my argument.

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM


Quoting Meadowchik:

Thanks for the response. 

The United States is a representative republic.  It is not a direct democracy.  I the areas where consensus is needed among a majority of legislatures, Obama's style is to rely more heavily on going to the people instead of working with legislators, which is more closely tailored than a different form of government. Of course the people need to be persuaded, too, that is important, but it is more effectively if done both directly and through the representatives, who do literally and legally serve as the go betweens between the federal government and the people.

As far as Romneycare, it's true that Romney did not pursue a plan that most of the citizens opposed. Obama did. See that?  And speaking of the moral case, Romney balanced the budget first, and passed Romneycare without raising taxes.  Furthermore, Romney did work intensely with the legislators, with experts, and with the insurance side most effected by the new law. 


 

Left political discussions for awhile because I was starting to feel more tribal and reactive than I'd like, so I'm just getting to this now.

It occurred to me later that what Woodward describes as Obama's lack of leadership I see more as a refusal to participate in partisan bickering.  And that is really my short answer.  I see your point about style fo government, but the truth is, to the extent that voters wanted "change" -- that's what they got.  It's the whole "be the change you want to see" and to the extent Obama turns it around on us, the voter, to take responsibility for health care - and also take responsibility for the current climate in government - I think it's great.  It's government by the people, of the people, for the people, and there's a reason why Americans love those words.

Romney passed health care in a climate where his Congress supported him.  Obama had a far more uphill battle, with an entire party united in opposition.  While the actual plan itself is apples to apples, the effort it took to pass it is apples to watermelon.

And I don't buy that Obamacare raises taxes.  That's the opinion of one justice of the Supreme Court. But, additionally, nor do I buy that passing legislation without raising taxes is more "moral" -- taking care of others is moral, paying for it is responsible.

Additionally, Obama absolutely worked with legislators, the insurance industry, experts, and others in passing the law.  It was a conservative idea, and conservative legislators had input in Obamacare -- they disavowed it as a strategic measure against the President, not on any real practical grounds.

Honestly, do you really believe that if Bush had proposed the same measure, Republicans would have lined up against it the way they did?  I do not.  Instead, Democrats would be screaming about it as a giveaway to the private health insurers (which it is as well), and talking smack about it because of it's non-universal coverage, while Republicans would be touting it to independents as "compassionate conservatism." 

 

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM


Quoting Meadowchik:


Quote:

"The tensions between Mr. Obama and the Gulf states, both American and Arab diplomats say, derive from an Obama character trait: he has not built many personal relationships with foreign leaders. “He’s not good with personal relationships; that’s not what interests him,” said one United States diplomat. “But in the Middle East, those relationships are essential. The lack of them deprives D.C. of the ability to influence leadership decisions.”

A Lack of Chemistry

Arab officials echo that sentiment, describing Mr. Obama as a cool, cerebral man who discounts the importance of personal chemistry in politics. “You can’t fix these problems by remote control,” said one Arab diplomat with long experience in Washington. “He doesn’t have friends who are world leaders. He doesn’t believe in patting anybody on the back, nicknames.

“You can’t accomplish what you want to accomplish” with such an impersonal style, the diplomat said.

Mr. Obama’s advisers argue that when he does reach out, he is more effective — as in a phone call last week to Mohamed Morsi, the new president of Egypt. After Mr. Morsi’s initial tepid response to the attacks on the embassy in Cairo, a fed-up Mr. Obama demanded a show of support. Within an hour, he had it.

“Were he to be calling all the time, it would run counter to our assertion that we won’t dictate the outcome of every decision in every country,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, a top national security aide. Limiting his outreach, Mr. Rhodes said, “heightens the impact of presidential engagement” when Mr. Obama does get on the phone.

Still, there remains concern in the administration that at any moment, events could spiral out of control, leaving the president and his advisers questioning their belief that their early support for the Arab Spring would deflect longstanding public anger toward the United States.

For instance, Mr. Feltman, the former assistant secretary of state, said, “the event I find politically most disturbing is the attack on Embassy Tunis.” Angry protesters breached the grounds of the American diplomatic compound there last week — in a country previously known for its moderation and secularism — despite Mr. Obama’s early support for the democracy movement there. “That really shakes me out of complacency about what I thought I knew.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/us/politics/arab-spring-proves-a-harsh-test-for-obamas-diplomatic-skill.html?pagewanted=all

 

To be honest, I don't even see what the point is.  It's a criticism of Obama's style, but that's it.  There's no real proof that a different approach would be more effective, and no suggestion that Obama's style hasn't worked.  Further, the R/R ticket has failed to provide any meaningful disagreement with the way Obama's handled foreign policy.  

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