Left and Right wing nuts

Teamster’s Union mafia boss, Jimmy Hoffa warmed up the crowd for Pres Obama on Labor Day, calling the Tea Party and Republicans a few choice expletive deletives.

When Pres Obama spoke, he noted that his upcoming speech on jobs was very important, and we should not to a “right wing nut, or a left wing nut.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/vp/44405764#44405764

Do you think he was speaking of Jimmy Hoffa, when he mentioned left wing nut?

And why have someone so radical warm up a crowd for you, unless you are in bed with them?  Hoffa is as radical as Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones, or Weather Underground activists that Pres Obama has been known to associate with. If you associate with left or right wing nuts a lot, does that make you one, too?

I like Pres Obama. Honestly I do.  But I do not think he’s presidential material. Maureen Dowd in the NYTimes, seems to agree:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/opinion/dowd-one-and-done.html?_r=1&ref=maureendowd

29 thoughts on “Left and Right wing nuts

  1. Given the Hoffa family history, “take them out” has a specific meaning. Also, I loved his use of the phrase “son of a bitches” (implying polygamy) instead of “sons of bitches.” See, there is a Mormon connection to this post after all.

  2. On Labor Day, labor unions should be present, and the Teamsters are one of the more conservative unions. They endorsed Nixon and Reagan for president. A whole lot more palatable than SEIU or its old president Andy Stern.

  3. Teamsters are no longer a conservative union under Jimmy Hoffa. They used to seek a fair deal for workers, but now seek to grow and gain power. Just look at how GM and Chrysler struggled to get any breaks from the union. The union preferred to see them go bankrupt. And it may well do the same to Ford now.

  4. Maureen Dowd and other liberals are disappointed in Obama, but that is because they were too optimistic about the power of any president to work effectively in these kinds of circumstances. There is no evidence that being “tougher” on Republicans would have worked any better than the conciliatory approach he has taken, in fact, it probably would have been infinitely worse.

    For a more balanced view on the cluelessness of left-wing criticism of Obama see:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/magazine/what-the-left-doesnt-understand-about-obama.html

  5. No, they are disappointed because Pres Obama was too “hands off”. He handed health care over to Nancy Pelosi and Congress, which then spent a year arguing and doing nothing else. He handed the stimulus package over to Nancy Pelosi and Congress, which turned it into a package to pay off their supporters (unions, etc) rather than actually help stimulate the economy. Rather than provide a worthwhile package for the debt increase, he tossed in something that even the Democrats hated (100% voted it down, a worse vote than on the initial Republican bill) and then did not lead in the discussions but left it to Joe Biden to work.

    As Maureen Dowd and others seem to now understand, he seems to want to give an inspiring speech, and then have everyone fall all over themselves to pass it. That isn’t reality. Reality is LBJ calling junior senators to get them on board with his bills. It is Ronald Reagan sitting down frequently with Tip O’Neil and hammering out specifics. It is Bill Clinton sitting down with Republicans and finding what is best for America, not just political cronies. Standing in front of a teleprompter requires little effort. Sitting down and directing traffic through the halls of Congress requires real work. Pres Obama has frequently shown either he isn’t up to the task, or is unwilling to do it. He tells us to eat our peas, but has yet to eat his own in order to get tough things passed.

    Bill Clinton angered many people. Still, he was very successful finding a way to work with a Republican party that wanted his scalp. He stood tough against them sometimes and didn’t blink. Other times, he embraced their ideas as ways towards improving the nation.

    While I don’t agree with everything Clinton did in his presidency, especially regarding the cover ups, etc., I do appreciate that he was a strong president in many ways.

    And in a trying period as this Great Recession, we need a strong president to guide us through. Pres Obama, though a nice and likeable guy, is not strong president material.

  6. One way of looking at these things is to consider how presidents and candidates handle the “big picture” and tackle the issues that are really important. Jobs is obviously number one, with wars an important number two. Protecting the country is the president’s responsibility, but with our military the size it is, “protection” means different things to different people. At the end of the day, on the truly important issues, Clinton has been our best recent president, with Reagan a close second. If only Obama had been more like Clinton.

  7. Personally, I would place Reagan above Clinton. It was because of many of his policies that led to the longest peace time expansion of the economy in history.

    Clinton’s job growth was based a lot on his efforts to reflect Reagan’s success, by encouraging job growth. He was also blessed with the Internet and technology surge that began just prior to his presidency, as well (with an obvious hat tip to Al Gore for inventing it for us).

    Compare Clinton’s warmth towards small and big business to Pres Obama’s coldness towards them. His administration has vastly increased the level of regulations on business, caused uncertainty to the point that they are leery about growing, and in many speeches attacks them as the enemy. That he allowed the EPA to prepare draconian environmental measures in the middle of the Great Recession, only to stop them at the last minute in order to save his presidency, shows the markets that he is fickled and cannot be trusted. Why allow the EPA to go to such lengths in the first place, especially during such economic struggles? That he is fickled also suggests that left-leaning environmentalists, Hispanics, gays, and other groups also are not sure if they can trust him, either. Clinton did things that upset the liberals of his party. But most Americans approved of what he was doing. Pres Obama seems to bounce back and forth, so that no one knows what to expect next.

    Nice guy, but no Pres Reagan or Clinton. And that is what we need right now.

  8. Unfortunately, I think Rameumptom nailed it. In trying to look majestic by staying above the fray, Obama ended up having no influence over it when he decided to dive in. Unfortunately, I don’t think at the president’s level that consensus is reached by letting everybody have their say and reaching a compromise. No, you decide what you want, slash it to what you might actually be able to get, and then pat backs, twist arms, dish out gifts under the table, and brutally punish disloyalty until you get it done.

    I voted for Obama and he strikes me as a reasonable guy, but he’s not an effective president. ‘Course, it would take an amazing (and scary) individual to be effective with this congress.

  9. Martin,

    I agree except on how scary this Congress is. I think Clinton’s Republican Congress was a tougher crowd. Yet, he learned to work with them, even while Newt sought to impeach him.

  10. You could be right ram. What you say about LBJ, Clinton, and Reagan is also how I judge an effective president.

    But I don’t know if any of us can truly quantify the amount of behind the scenes arm twisting and back scratching Obama does and compare it to those previous presidents. Maybe he doesn’t do it as much, or as effectively. That’s too bad if that’s the case.

    I do sense however, that today’s political environment is more toxic and partisan than in the past. That is a sentiment I hear from a lot of veterans in congress these days. It could be that political tactics have changed, and there is nothing LBJ, Clinton or Reagan could have done to navigate effectively in this “take no prisoners” environment.

    Here on the sidelines, I don’t think we get the complete picture. In a failing economy, everyone needs someone to blame, and media needs to sell papers. So the media sells blame, and the easiest target is Obama. Maybe Obama is ineffective. But I wouldn’t trust Maureen Dowd or a Republican to tell me that. But I might trust someone like David Brooks to give me a good argument for it.

  11. Looking back at Reagan’s legacy, I agree that he set the foundation for the prosperity of the ’90s, but he could have done so much more. His military spending was completely out of control and unnecessary. Reagan was responsible for also laying the foundation of our current military-industrial complex. Clinton (with the pressure of a Republican Congress) did a better job of cutting government across the board. He signed NAFTA and he signed welfare reform, which is a model for what we should do now with Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. So, Clinton gets a B-plus overall, and Reagan gets a B. Obama and both Bushes get failing grades.

  12. There is a term that is commonly used in discussing Latin American history-the “dead hand of the Church.” What it referrred to is the vast amount of wealth the church accumulated from the bequeathments of the wealthy, especially the widows. The church basically sat on the wealth and it was not used to expand or grow the economy.

    I am afraid whoever is President and from whatever party will have to deal with the”dead hand of American Capitalism.” Before anyone yells Marxism or Communism, notice I said American Capitalism. If we look at the trends over the last fifty years, I believe you can see the arguement.

    1. We do not build things anymore. Just look at the decline of manufacturing in this country along with the growth of the rust belt.

    2. We create a phony wealth by using “financial instruments” that are created by debt and move money around so that a number of people can take their cut at different steps along the way. Look at the housing bubble: people took out loans they could not pay, banks took their cut by pushing bad loans, bundlers took their cut by creating mortgage backed securities, investment banks sold bad MBS’s and got their share, Credit Default Swaps were sold by companies without any reserves.

    3. Many of these financial hocus pocus financial gimmicks cost people their jobs, retirement and savings. Mitt Romney and his friends at Bain Capital were key examples. It specialized in Leveraged Buy Outs. That is they would pay very high prices for the stock of a company then pay for this huge debt by using the companies cash, lower wages, fire people, use the retirement fund and leave it bare, sell parts of the company and sell junk bonds. Many companies could not take the debt and failed other companies fearing an LBO ran up a large debt so as to not be an atrtractive LBO (I do admit that Mitt has created jobs,as some conservative commentators have argued, by using some of his LBO money to expand his mansion).

    4. Many American companies are sending jobs overseas (including a number of those who were bailed out by our government).

    5. A number of “pro business” groups are calling for ending minimum wage, passing medical costs more on to workers, destroying unions, doing away withSocial Security and Medicare. In other words taking away the purchasing power of the working class.

    6. Finally corporations are awash with money. Are they spending it to expand and hire people. Of course not! They are like Oliver Twist: Please,sir, I want some more..”
    Cut Capital Gains Taxes. Cut Business Taxes. Make our profits bigger.

    That is the dead hand of American Capitalism.

  13. Stan, many of us would probably agree with most or many of your conclusions on current American capitalism problems. It is what is called “corporatism.” Instead of true capitalism, we’ve set up a system that benefits global corporations, allowing them to enrich themselves by moving manufacturing overseas where it is cheaper, while selling things here, meanwhile asking Congress for legal loopholes so they do not have to pay any taxes. On the banking side of things, the fed promises to bail them out, while writing regulations that encourage them to take enormous risks in housing, lending, etc.

    The system no longer works for the American people nor small business (where most jobs are). We need to get back to a fair system of the people and for the people – a true capitalism that evens out all playing fields, offers no deals, has no favorites, provides no ability for Congress to be bribed by the rich.

    I’m not talking class warfare here. I’m talking about returning to Constitutional concepts. The Fed should not be doing what they are doing, but turn most things over to the states, and make federal laws neutral as to any industry, etc. Mitt Romney was right last night when he said we need to focus on helping the middle class, and not the big corporations, who already are rolling in federal dollars.

  14. “the union preferred to see them go bankrupt…” Sounds like what the tea party wanted to see happen to the nation on the debt ceiling issue. Maybe extremism of any kind is not healthy.

  15. Perhaps not. However, we’ve had many years of extreme spending from Bush and Obama. Now, it will take extreme measures to get our finances back on track.

    If an individual were to run up huge deficits, he would only have two choices: bankruptcy, or running very lean until he got the finances under control.

    When Pres Obama and the Democratic Senate was wanting the debt ceiling raised for a promise that they wouldn’t go into as much deficit as they wanted to, we really are not heading in the right direction. IOW, Pres Obama’s offerings on the debt ceiling increase were as extreme as the Tea Party’s insistence on it.

    Personally, as I’ve studied it, I think that defaulting on some of our debt (we still have money coming in, so we can pay a lot of it), would have been better than increasing the deficit as we have. It is a less extreme choice than continually racking up trillions of dollars with no true solution to pay for it.

    Why do I think this? Because defaulting on some of the debt would be hard, but would allow us to get our house back in order quickly. Whereas the continual spending of mass amounts of green paper will lead us to hyper-inflation, as the Weimar Republic experienced. The Mark was worth 75 cents before WWI, and in 1923 it required over one Trillion Marks to equal one US dollar. In such a case, a barrel full of money will not buy a loaf of bread!

  16. The Reagan legacy — the mindset Republicans inherited — has been disastrous for us. The mythology of Reagan is that deficits don’t matter, as Dick Cheney so famously said. Well, they do matter. You can’t increase spending anywhere and not pay for it. It took Bush I and Clinton years to pay down what Reagan ran up. Then Bush II launched two wars without paying for them, gave us an unnecessary prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and gave the wealthy huge tax cuts that did not give us any payback in terms of boosting our economy. So let’s please cork dear old Ronnie in a bottle and toss him out to sea. The great and glorious America he left us exists only in some peoples’ minds.

  17. That most historians and political scholars rate Reagan as “near great” and consistently in the Top 10 presidents, I’d say he shouldn’t be tossed out to sea.

    Did he and the Democratic Congress he had make mistakes? Yes. His idea was a temporary deficit in order to bring the Soviet Union to its knees. The peace dividend would more than pay for the deficit. And as we can see, during the Bush 1 and Clinton years it did.

    That Cheney is an idiot that ignored the real message that Reagan tried to give us, and instead became a Keynesian neocon Republican that sought to win the world through major military actions is apparent.

    While he did create a deficit, Reagan did not spend trillions on foreign wars. He faced down an ever present and encroaching Soviet threat that other efforts failed at. He encouraged the Weinberger/Powell Doctrine. He fixed Social Security so it would last several decades. He saved us from the economic malaise of the 1970s and the high inflation of the Carter years. He re-inspired Americans on patriotism and the Constitution. He encouraged a Democratic Congress towards reducing regulation and federal government. He stood strong and firm on things that mattered, and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty by working with Tip O’Neil.

    Yes, he also had Iran-Contra, a deficit, and a few other failures. But overall, the Reagan I appreciate was a pragmatic conservative, who inspired people. His speeches mattered (“Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall”) and moved people around the world to mostly positive action.

    I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect president. There isn’t. But we can have great presidents that inspire and deal with the issues of the day.

    This is the real legacy of Reagan. Sadly, some have attempted to co-opt it and turn it into something else.

  18. Rame, most historians also rate Wilson and FDR — who were proto-fascists — as “near great.” The truly great presidents are the one who create long-lasting legacies that nurture liberty and promote peaceful prosperity. Grover Cleveland and Coolidge should be our models, not the progressives who laid the foundations for our current malaise. So, the question is, who among our recent presidents has most promoted liberty and promoted peaceful prosperity? Hate to say it, but Clinton wins that battle, slightly, over Reagan, with all of the rest far behind.

  19. #17 Ram: point of order: had the debt ceiling not be raised, we would not have defaulted on DEBT, we would have been unable to pay obligations which we had already made. It is different not paying interest on a T-Bill and not paying salaries to workers who have already done the work. Or not paying suppliers for material already delivered.

  20. I dunno jj, but seeing as he left office with the highest approval rating of any president it would stand to mean a lot of people were reasonably pleased with the mixed bag of his presidency.

  21. Ram, I admire a lot about Reagan, but I think it’s a myth that our military spending brought the USSR to its knees. Review this chart:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Soviet_Union_GDP.gif

    Unless you can offer up a different interpretation, it would seem the USSRs GDP was increasing dramatically from the 70s on, and around 1985 it skyrocketed. If anything, based on this chart, you could argue too much growth (aggregate, I’m not suggesting individuals were better off) brought he USSR down. In fact, too much growth is a serious problem as it leads to massive amounts of shortages, etc. that are even difficult for a market economy to handle. I would guess for a planned economy, it would basically break the system as your planners would be estimating a modest 2% increase over the previous year, only to see a skyrocket demand in X.

    Again, looking at this chart, you see some of the current troubles of the former Soveit Union (FSU). The country is not in good shape and it’s GDP has skyrocketed over the last decade.

    I’m not professing intimate details into the working of their economy, just basing a lot of this chart and prior knowledge. I’ve often believed the myth of military spending, and I think that it certainly played some part, as we were competing with them on a lot of fronts. But I think the collapse of the USSR was largely structural, and not because they were trying to compete with star wars (they’ve had elaborate ballistic missile defenses around Moscow for 40 years).

  22. jjohnsen, I was. I voted for him twice, and given the choices (Bush and Dole), I would still vote for him. I wasn’t too happy with the Monica Lewinsky situation, but overall I really didn’t have many complaints about him once he left office (except for the pardons — that was pretty bad). The contrast to our current president should be obvious.

    Chris, good points.

  23. Chris, Reagan’s concept was to get the USSR into a build up war and bankrupt them. It was obvious by the time he became president that the USSR was having many shortages. To force them into a military build up would create more shortages and more discontent.

    In fact the beginning of Solidarity (Poland’s union) came about like this: A ship at the Gdansk shipyard was being loaded with 5 gallon buckets of paint for the Soviet Union. One guy decided to appropriate a couple buckets to paint his house (no one would notice, right?). Upon opening them at home, he found they did not have paint, but ham filling the buckets. Poland was having huge shortages of meat, and they now knew much of it was going to Russia, instead. So Solidarity union began at the Gdansk shipyards to insist on freedoms for the people.

    The inner pressures from dissatisfactions, Pope John Paul II’s efforts against communism, and Reagan’s pressure to free up the USSR (tear down this wall), first being tough and then working towards agreements with Gorbachev, caused the collapse to occur.

    Bankrupting the USSR caused its collapse. It could not keep up with us, so was a matter of time. Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Maggie Thatcher and Solidarity are given most of the credit for the USSR’s collapse. Political historians generally agree with this. This is primarily why he is considered a “near great” president.

  24. JJohnsen,

    I never did vote for Clinton. The first time, I voted for a short, independent Texan with big ears and lots of charts. The second time, I voted Libertarian.

    That said, Clinton turned out a good president because the Republican Congress pulled him to the center. They were a great balance that did great things.

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