Home / General / Man Who Will Never Be President Says Dumb Things About Politics

Man Who Will Never Be President Says Dumb Things About Politics

Comments
/
/
/
570 Views

Jim Webb, everybody:

President Obama had a tremendous amount of goodwill when he was first elected. I don’t agree with the notion that he got all of this resistance automatically, simply because of external factors. He put health-care reform on the table at a time when we were in a major recession. It had been a big issue in the campaign, so there was a natural momentum to want to haul that through. But there was no bill. When George W. Bush was president, people would ask me about health-care reform, and I would say, having spent four years inside an administration, “If he wants that, he should put together a bill.” Bob Dole famously said, “The president proposes, the Congress disposes.” But there was no bill. The administration was sitting back, encouraging what became five different bills, three in the House and two in the Senate. It was very confusing, and it scared the American people.

I’ve already criticized the Rahm Emmanuel theory of health care reform extensively. In addition, there’s…well, Webb is kind enough to refute his own argument:

It could have been done in a different way. I, quite frankly, would have figured a narrower bill, but an actual bill. There are counterarguments to that, and I know you’re aware of them, where they were saying that the Clinton administration had put together a 1,100-page bill and it got ripped up. But you need a bill.

So, to summarize, Barack Obama succeeded in getting comprehensive health reform passed where Truman, Johnson, and Clinton either failed or didn’t. even. try. by publicly deferring to Congress. Bill Clinton tried to ram a health care reform bill right down Congress’s throat by going public, and is was a disaster on every level. Conclusion: Obama should have followed Clinton’s model. I can’t wait for Webb’s next interview, in which he argues that the Seahawks should have traded for Tim Tebow rather than drafting Russell Wilson.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    This is an attempt to frame a (pseudo-)populist presidential campaign?!?

  • Rob in CT

    I read all the stuff in there about how he was an infantry officer and knows how to lead with leadership, and it’s pretty obvious he thinks he could have succeeded with the “Clinton model” because he’s JIM WEBB, B*TCHES! Not Clinton or Obamacarter.

    He’s still in touch with basic reality, so he knows that there are major problems with his argument. He acknowledges them, and then handwaves them away. Like LEADERS do, amirite?

    That interview annoyed me, especially the bit where Klein says something like “I’m going to press you on this…” and I thought he was going to really press Webb on his healthcare strategy… but didn’t.

    [also nauseating was the Reagan idolotry by Webb, but that’s to be expected I guess]

    • rea

      He was, after all, in Reagan’s cabinet. Quit because Reagan didn’t want a big enough navy for his tastes.

      • Rob in CT

        Right, so let that bit slide.

        The rest is still pretty bad. He basically calls Obama Carter, says he caused GOP hateobstruction (at least in part) by… asking Congress to do its job.

        I love how later he goes on about how the Executive has too much power and Congress has abdicated (in the FP realm). How that meshes with:

        …“If he wants that, he should put together a bill.” Bob Dole famously said, “The president proposes, the Congress disposes.” But there was no bill. The administration was sitting back…

        in his mind, I don’t know.

    • Morse Code for J

      I assume that you have to mention Reagan favorably to appeal to white people who were old enough to vote in 1980.

      At CPAC, they asked Scott Walker what Reagan’s greatest foreign policy accomplishment was, and Scott felt that it was Reagan firing 11,000 air traffic controllers. Apparently the cheers were deafening, even though most Americans with a high school diploma would know that this was a matter of domestic policy. But Republicans are content with anyone so long as they offer mouth-agape, Chris Farley-like praise of Reagan: “Remember that time Reagan did this thing which made him look strong instead of old, forgetful and under his minions’ control? That was cool.”

      As an air traffic controller with 9 years to retirement eligibility after Obama leaves office, I can only hope that Democrats control one of the federal veto points during that time.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        I, for one, will never forget how Reagan SINGLE-HANDEDLY prevented the Germans from attacking Pearl Harbor.

        • Malaclypse

          I’m disappointed that Walker didn’t mention Reagan’s help in liberating Auschwitz.

          • rea

            Reagan’s career in Stalin’s Red Army is little remarked upon, other than his role in the liberation of Auschwitz.

            • Hogan

              He was a member of SAG–they all served in Stalin’s Red Army.

      • rea

        Isn’t Walker’s claim something on the order of Reagan fired the controllers, making the Soviets see Reagan as a tough guy who had to be reckoned with, and thereby winning the Cold War? And similarly, that his own anti-union stand will make ISIS afraid, because he’s a tough guy?

        • Hogan

          He didn’t originate it, but yes, that’s the claim.

          • howard

            the claim appears to have originated with the likes of ed meese and george shultz (via peggy noonan), although neither can point you to an actual foreign policy result, unless they want to claim that the soviets were so impressed with reagan firing the patco workers that several months later they pressured the polish government to crack down on solidarity.

            • Hogan

              Walker doubled down by saying there were Soviet documents that proved it. People familiar with Soviet documents are, shall we say, dismissive of that claim.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                the guy is really working the second coming of ronbo act

              • wjts

                “Governor Walker, this so-called ‘Soviet document’ is a Burger King napkin with the words ‘Please excuse the Politburo from work today – they were very very scared after Reagan stood up to the PATCO union. Signed, the Politburo’s Mom’ written on it in crayon. And the ‘R’s are backwards.”

                “THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW IT’S A SOVIET DOCUMENT!”

                • Snarki, child of Loki

                  Secret penetration of the Walker campaign organization…FOR THE WIN!

            • Morse Code for J

              Didn’t impress the guys who blew up the Marines in Beirut either, before we hurriedly left Lebanon with strength and great resolve.

              • wjts

                The fact that the invasion of Grenada took place only a few days afterward reminds me of a Jack Handey quote: “It makes me mad when people say I turned and ran like a scared rabbit. Maybe it was like an angry rabbit, who was running to go fight in another fight, away from the first fight.”

        • gmack

          I think that’s one way to read it. If only he would ride around on a horse without his shirt on, Iran and ISIS would just immediately surrender.

          He’d have to beat Putin in judo competition to get Russia out of Ukraine, however.

          • JUDO? Judo is fighting for NANCIES. Actual GIRL PEOPLE called NANCY.

            REAL MANS fight by tearing opponent’s HEART FROM CHEST and then EATING IT and then SLEEPING WITH OPPONENT’S WIFE and GIRLFRIENDS CALLED NANCY.

            WINNER RULES WORLD FOREVER, AMEN.

            • toberdog

              Not for nothing did Reagan marry Nancy.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              i was thinking the fact ‘american sniper’ was our new favorite all-american movie meant we had a slightly different modus operandi (after having first read that forty years ago in a hardy boys mystery i finally have opportunity to use the phrase) now

          • joe from Lowell

            If only he would ride around on a horse without his shirt on

            This really throws the differences between liberals and conservatives into stark relief.

            I see that footage, and I think that Putin looks ridiculous, like someone desperately overcompensating during a midlife crisis. I expect him to start combing Just for Men into his hair, or driving around in a red Corvette built the year he turned 16.

            But these conservatives see that same footage, and they want the poster for their wall. It’s absurd.

            • rea

              And yet, the right was shocked, shocked by this.

            • John Casey

              For me, bare-chested Putin = Dukakis riding around in a tank.

        • Pseudonym

          So why aren’t Republicans celebrating the way the president shoved Obamacare down our collective throat as a warning to ISIS?

      • postmodulator

        As an air traffic controller with 9 years to retirement eligibility after Obama leaves office, I can only hope that Democrats control one of the federal veto points during that time.

        Don’t forget the possibility that if the Democrats lose a veto point before you die, you will lose your pension even after you’ve retired.

        • Morse Code for J

          There is that, yes. Hopefully they’ll leave me enough of my Social Security benefits to survive.

          • postmodulator

            You’re Social Security eligible? A lot of people paying into public pension systems aren’t paying into FICA.

            • Morse Code for J

              One of the changes associated with the transition from CSRS to FERS in 1984.

      • Pat

        I hereby propose that we use Digby’s formulation of Scott Walker: he is a male Sarah Palin. He makes as much sense, he pushes all the same buttons, and he has the analytical skills of the Sage of the Tundra.

        Really, he just needs to get the same glasses….

      • MAJeff

        I assume that you have to mention Reagan favorably to appeal to white people who were old enough to vote in 1980.

        I am in favor of him remaining dead.

  • Malaclypse

    He put health-care reform on the table at a time when we were in a major recession.

    Any Democrat who doesn’t understand that a period where unemployment rose higher and faster than any point since the 1980s, when we have an employer-based health system, is exactly when reform is most needed, should shut the fuck up forever, because NAM and the Chamber of Commerce already own one political party, and we don’t need to sell them a second.

    • Rob in CT

      It’s like they don’t quite get that having healthcare insurance is a pretty important part of an Americans’ economic well-being…

      • Malaclypse

        Can you imagine if FDR had said “The middle of this Depression is no time to enact unemployment compensation.”

        There’s a word for this sort of stupidity: conservativism.

    • Phil Perspective

      … because NAM and the Chamber of Commerce already own one political party, and we don’t need to sell them a second.

      They own half of the Democratic Party too. What do you think the Blue Dogs/New Dems are? What do you think Andrew Cuomo and Rahmbo Emanuel are?

  • Murc

    It’s also worth noting that this is Webb basically baldly admitting that Congress, of which he was a member, is completely incompetent to walk and chew gum at the same time, and can’t shepherd important legislation without direction from the White House.

    I’m sure Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are thrilled at that implicit sideswipe to their leadership abilities.

    • Malaclypse

      “Obama fucked up – he trusted us.”

      • toberdog

        This quote must always be preceded with a clip of Belushi breaking the beer bottle on his head.

        • tsam

          And then the guy carefully measuring the windshield before smashing it with a hammer. That still cracks me up to this day.

          • toberdog

            It’s not in the same sequence, but I love it when they show all the guys checking their watches just before the attack the parade. All of them except Blutarsky say 11:59 (or something). But his says some utterly random time and still, when he looks at it he nods confidently.

            • tsam

              HA!

              The little things too–like when Bluto is giving is motivational speech and gets stuck, the music just holds on the same note and waits for him to catch up. LOL. What a great movie.

  • malraux

    Webb is also ignoring that the first thing Obama did was pass the ARRA. It addressed the recession, and was largely opposed by republicans. the aca seems like the first thing Obama did only because it took so much time and energy to pass.

    • joe from Lowell

      That’s what really pisses me off about this line of attack: Obama already put stimulus at the top of his legislative agenda, and must have know that it would mean something else – some other priority he came into office eager to address – would fall off the bottom of the list.

      And things did. Immigration reform. A carbon bill. He gave up stuff he wanted in order to prioritize jobs.

      • Malaclypse

        Remember card check?

        I’m on a bunch of labor-law e-mail lists. November 18, 2008: “The Employee Free Choice Act Is Coming. Get Ready.” I have roughly two dozen e-mails about this from that one through late October, 2010.

        • joe from Lowell

          I do remember Card Check, but I thought that one just flat-out died from lack of support, not lack of time. They counted the noses, it turned out that some of the votes they thought they had were turncoats, and they dropped it. Am I remembering that wrongly?

          • Morse Code for J

            They had time to press for one or the other, and the ACA was the likelier of the two because it offered the chance to fellate a major part of the financial services sector.

            • joe from Lowell

              If that was their reasoning, then they made a terrible blunder, because the bill they supported and passed infuriated that particular part of the financial services sector (the health insurers), and those insurers (as well as the rest of the financial sector, actually) turned ferociously against them.

              But that was pretty obviously not their reasoning.

              • Morse Code for J

                The bitching about the ACA notwithstanding, the individual mandate and the federal subsidies to purchase health insurance were a major boon to the insurance industry, who for the most part got on board even as Rick Santelli made an ass of himself on CNBC.

                There was no comparable potential payoff for any sector of business to sign on for expanded labor protection, and plenty of Democrats south of West Virginia and west of Illinois accordingly were not in favor.

                • joe from Lowell

                  The bitching about the ACA notwithstanding,

                  The bitching, and the throwing of their money and influence behind trying to block it. Yes, let’s treat all of that as “notwithstanding,” and go onto their actions that demonstrate support of it.

                  Oh, wait, there are none.

                  the individual mandate and the federal subsidies to purchase health insurance were a major boon to the insurance industry,

                  If you ignore everything about the law except for the parts that are least bad for the insurance industry, the law is really not so bad for the insurance industry.

                  who for the most part got on board even as Rick Santelli made an ass of himself on CNBC.

                  This is not even remotely accurate as a description of AHIP’s political posture during 2009-2010. It is an inversion of the historical record. They fought the ACA tooth and nail throughout the period of its passage.

                  The health insurers were just as opposed to the PPACA as Wal Mart was to card check. Even if you think they shouldn’t have been, they were. Follow the money.

                • Malaclypse

                  The bitching about the ACA notwithstanding, the individual mandate and the federal subsidies to purchase health insurance were a major boon to the insurance industry,

                  How did the medical loss ratio help? Please be specific and use examples.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Even if you think they shouldn’t have been, they were. Follow the money.

                  This.

                • timb

                  Evan Bayh raises his hand and says: West of Illinois?

                • Hogan

                  The other west.

              • Morse Code for J

                You were right. I stand corrected, and to be honest, I’m not sure why I thought otherwise.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Probably because there are quite a few people pushing that bogus claim.

          • Malaclypse

            Honestly not sure why it died.

          • Nick

            An Employee Free Choice Act with a card-check provision didn’t have enough support to overcome an inevitable filibuster in the Senate – and yes, that means there were Dems who wouldn’t have voted for it. There seemed to be 60 votes for an EFCA that would have been a statutory version of the recent NLRB rules to expedite representation elections, plus a provision allowing for treble damages when workers are fired during a representation election campaign, and some helpful changes about injunctive relief, but Kennedy’s and Byrd’s illnesses (and then deaths) kept the Dems from getting 60 people in the Senate to make it happen. At least that’s how I remember it.

        • Morse Code for J

          Apparently universal health care was the easier lift. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor (D-Walmart) were having none of anything that would actually make an employer think twice about worker intimidation leading up to a union election.

          • Phil Perspective

            Don’t forget Snarlin’ Arlen Specter. He bailed on it too.

          • tsam

            Didn’t that coincide with the proposed VW plant in (one of the Carolinas?) where VW offered up the union voluntarily and the free market legislators had a grand mal freakdown?

            • Morse Code for J

              Tennessee. The legislature threatened to pull any current or future tax preferences the plant was getting if it went union.

            • Linnaeus

              Didn’t that coincide with the proposed VW plant in (one of the Carolinas?) where VW offered up the union voluntarily and the free market legislators had a grand mal freakdown?

              As mentioned, it was in Tennessee and it was a little worse than that. VW wasn’t offering to recognize the UAW local voluntarily, though it could have because the UAW had enough cards signed. It agreed to stay neutral in the certification election, and even this mild gesture of fairness was too much for the Tennessee legislature to countenance.

      • Vance Maverick

        I suspect (but am too lazy to check) that the ARRA doesn’t count, in Webb’s mind, as addressing the recession — that what he means, without articulating it (to us, or probably to himself) was that the recession was the time for austerity.

        • Malaclypse

          Because nothing says “populism” quite like the policies of Herbert Hoover.

          • Vance Maverick

            And yet, they are often made to sound populist — the analogy of the national economy to the household economy , especially with the pretense that the household doesn’t or shouldn’t rely on credit.

            • Hogan

              Or try to increase its income.

            • tsam

              That’s the one that makes me go all CAPS LOCK on the poor fools that post that dumb shit on Facebook.

              The idea that the federal government bears any resemblance to a home budget is about the most ignorant thing you can actually say about it.

              • Malaclypse

                Seriously. If my household had the ability to literally print money, and investors were lined up around the world offering to loan me money at negative interest rates, that would change the hypothetical kitchen table spending discussions.

                • Morat

                  Right, and if your spending was a big enough share of the economy that cutting it would cut your income even more…

                  It’s like telling someone who needs a car to get to work to sell it to reduce their expenses.

                • tsam

                  Not to mention that when government spending goes down, the economy cools down, causing more unemployment and thus lowered revenue…

                  It’s a downward spiral, and it’s NOT theoretical. It happened in 1929.

            • Pseudonym

              The best thing to do when your household is facing money problems is to quit working as many hours.

    • Rob in CT

      You know, with all the other stuff that pissed me off, I totally let this slide.

      But no, that’s the #1 fallacy behind the whole line of thought.

      And yeah, I really doubt Jim Webb’s take on the ARRA was that it was too small.

      • matt w

        Oh, and it’s worse than that. Webb is specifically talking about why Obama faced such unhinged opposition. Well, the governor of Texas threatened to commit treason–in April 2009, before the ACA was more than a promise that Obama had been elected on.

        So the unhinged opposition had started well before the ACA. It was caused by Obama’s actual attempts to address the election–or by the fact that Obama had the temerity to be President while black, or a Democrat.

  • Joe_JP

    The Great White Hype.

  • sibusisodan

    It was very confusing, and it scared the American people.

    Reading that word-salad again, this is the part that stands out. Obama’s failure to propose a bill to Congress caused confusion which scared the American people?

    Are the American people children?

    Of course, we all remember the glorious Clinton healthcare initiative. Sure, nothing got passed, but at least by proposing a bill Clinton ensured that the American people wouldn’t be scared by confusion.

    That whole episode was notable for the lack of fear demonstrated by the American people.

    • postmodulator

      Are the American people children?

      I’d say around ninety percent of them, yes.

    • Shakezula

      That stood out to me as well, because it sounded like some sort of alternate history account of an America where the ACA didn’t pass because the American People were so scared of it that their duly elected representatives wouldn’t touch it.

      Or perhaps it did pass because [mumble grumble something Obama bad] but then no one signed up for it because Eeeek! Health care.

      But then I realized he meant American People. You know, hospitals, health systems and health insurance companies (which have since embraced it) and the people who started rolling around D.C. to protest Gobbermint Innerfearance in Healthcare in the Hoverounds they got from some company that’s ripping off Medicare.

    • Bufflars

      That statement is even more ridiculous than you indicate. The law is fucking known as Obamacare. If asked, I’m sure a majority of Americans would tell you that Obama single-handedly wrote the whole damn law. The fact that he left it mostly up to Congress to draft is not (and was not) an important distinction to anyone who wasn’t already paying close attention.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Right,precisely. He’s arguing that the public — which for all intents and purposes pays no attention to the details of the legislative process `– opposes “Obamacare” because Obama didn’t have enough to do with it. It’s just idiotic.

    • UserGoogol

      I have no problem with the idea that the American public is easily scared and confused. But the kind of people most sensitive to that sort of gut reaction don’t really pay that much attention to Congressional procedure.

    • Hogan

      Obama could have avoided all the fear and confusion simply by not proposing death panels.

      • He should have used fear and surprise rather than fear and confusion. Also, my doctor’s waiting room needs more comfy chairs.

        • cpinva

          “He should have used fear and surprise rather than fear and confusion.”

          I bet a fanatical dedication to the pope would have helped too.

      • tsam

        He really screwed up when he nationalized Medicare. I don’t know what he was thinking on that one. I guess he is just like Jimmy Carter.

        • Linnaeus

          Seriously. Running Medicare like it’s some kinda federal program.

  • Cheerful

    also interesting is the point Klein kept coming back to – anything you say now in campaigning is probably useless towards predicting your actual policy choices once you become president because you’ll just do what makes sense to you at the time.

    It’s one of the paradoxes of political campaigning – a candidate’s policy preferences are more important than character but little said about policy during campaigning past some broad generalities (e.g. universal health care) actually matter.

    I gather from the interview that he feels strongly about criminal justice reform. I’ve no idea what his actual reforms would be if he were president and able to actually influence legislation with a hostile congress. More pertinent to predictions on that front probably are his fealty to Reagan. That seems to reflect as much about policy preferences as anything else.

    • rea

      Criminal justice reform is only a federal issue to a limited extent–most people in prison are in state prisons

    • Pat

      You need to read more Jonathan Bernstein, Cheerful. He has a whole series of work on presidential promises and how they signal priorities to the party. They actually are very important.

  • Denverite

    the Seahawks should have traded for Tim Tebow rather than drafting Russell Wilson

    I mean, I can pretty much guarantee you that Tebow would never be intercepted in the end zone in the Super Bowl on the potential game-winning drive with seconds left on the clock.

    • rea

      God would not permit that.

      • Denverite

        (I was thinking more he’d never sniff the Super Bowl, and if he did he’d be sitting on the bench, and even if for some unknown reason he was on the field it wouldn’t be as QB, and even if the first two QBs got hurt and he had emergency third string duty, they wouldn’t be passing from the one with the game on the line.)

        • rea

          We’re in agreement–you’ve outlined the mechanism by which God would not permit that. He moves in mysterious ways.

          • Malaclypse

            I don’t mean to start any blasphemous rumors
            But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humor
            And when I die
            I expect to find Him passing.

            • tsam

              Depeche Mode lyrics–the old stuff.

              Have a martini.

            • njorl

              Oh, God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
              Abe says, “Man you must be puttin’ me on”
              God says, “No”, Abe say “What?”
              God say “You can do what you want Abe but
              The next time you see me comin’ you better run

  • Joe_JP

    Meanwhile, woman with a future promotes medicinal marijuana:

    http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2015/03/fascinating-press-conference-introducing-federal-medical-marijuana-reform-bill-the-carers-act.html

    One of the few good things to come out of that sex scandal was the appointment of Kirstin Gillibrand.

  • Bitter Scribe

    This guy seems to have what might be generously called an inflated sense of his own political skills. He got lucky and won election to the Senate because his opponent was a horse’s ass who self-destructed. Now he thinks he’s the Great White Male Hope. News flash, Sparky: There’s no such thing.

  • Pingback: Webbmentum! - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

It is main inner container footer text