Democrats Can Truly Be our own Worst Enemies at Times

  • Appointed Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff;
  • Appointed Tim Geithner to Treasury instead of Paul Krugman, even though Krugman said he was not interested;
  • Re-upped Defense Secretary Bob Gates from the Bush administration; even though Gates served as a realistic corrective to the disastrous Rumsfeld;
  • Prioritized rescuing the economy and financial system over disappearing Jamie Dimon to Gitmo and carpet bombing Wall Street to ashes and then salting the earth beneath it;
  • Re-upped Ben Bernanke at the Fed, even though Bernanke served as a voice of reason while the Republicans were urging disastrous austerity and tight-money policies;
  • Signed a healthcare reform bill that didn’t include a public option because of the need to get to 60 votes;
  • Signed a bank reform bill that didn’t authorize the government to break up a bank for no other reason than its bigness, because of the need to get to 60 votes;
  • Signed a too-small stimulus bill, because of the need to get to 60 votes;
  • “Caved” on the closing of Gitmo, despite a veto-proof opposition;
  • “Caved” on the public option, and on breaking up the banks (remember when Jane Hamscher of Firedoglake teamed up with anti-tax hawk Grover Norquist to “Kill the Bill” and when MSNBC’s Ed Schultz told viewers to skip the 2010 elections to send Obama a message?);
  • Refused to consider minting a magic $1 trillion platinum coin, evoking the 14th amendment, or resorting to some other dubious means to break the 2011 stalemate in raising the debt ceiling;
  • Supported HHS Secretary Sebelius in refusing to take up the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to make the emergency morning-after pill available across-the-counter to underage girls (remember when some accused Obama of setting women’s rights back by 50 years with this “patriarchal” edict?). The fact that that policy went through relatively incident-free and with very little hand-wringing after the 2012 election was apparently lost on the hair-on-fire anti-Democrat “progressives”;
  • Told the Congressional Black Caucus to “kick off your bedroom slippers and put on your marching shoes”;
  • Decoupled the Bush tax cuts at $400K instead of $250K, even though it meant a larger slice of the upper middle class kept their tax cuts and the more important — as far as addressing economic inequality — capital gains tax was raised from 15 to 20 percent;
  • Declined in 2011 to augment regulations on ozone emissions, even though the regulations were scheduled for review anyway in 2013, and would have fueled Republican criticisms of “job killing regulations” during the 2012 election season. That Obama also enacted tougher rules on mercury — an actual poison — went largely unnoticed and unheralded by some progressives who seem afflicted with selective memory and selective outrage;
  • Pragmatically endorsed the use of natural gas — admittedly, a fossil fuel — to replace the more problematic use of coal in power plants as a transitional energy source until the eventual widespread adoption of renewable clean energy sources;
  • Agreed to provide air cover for a multilateral response in defense of Libyan citizens facing slaughter by strongman dictator Qaddafi — a response demanded by Libyans and endorsed by the United Nations and the Arab League;
  • Attempted a new approach to international trade agreements by making enforceable, verifiable standards on human rights, labor rights, and environmental protections a condition of favorable trade terms with the world’s largest economy; and
  • Prosecuted a drone war — rather than continue a carpet bombing campaign that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians — in an effort to bring Bush’s unwinnable wars to an end;

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