POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Roland Martin (CNN) … When will this president exert some presidential muscle? … LMW: If President Obama wants to earn the support he is asking me and other Democrats for every day, it’s time to earn it. Mr. President, get in the fight!

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 2, 2011


that's the angry face we want to see a whole lot more of


Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor (9/2/11) …

  •  as I look at how the GOP forced the president’s hand on extending the Bush tax cuts; created political hay out of the debt ceiling, helping lead the nation to lose its AAA credit rating; and committed the gross disrespect of rebuffing the president’s request to speak to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, it’s fair to ask:

When will this president strike back and exert some presidential muscle?

  • There is no doubt that President Obama has taken an aggressive position in going after al-Qaeda. Even the hawkest of hawks can’t complain about his decisions in Libya and Afghanistan. But the 2012 election will not be decided on foreign policy.
  • This unwillingness to flex his muscle
    • when Democrats were ready to tar and feather Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman for his stern opposition to then-Sen. Barack Obama in his battle against Sen. John McCain. Democrats wanted to strip Lieberman of his committee assignments, but Obama quashed that, saying it wasn’t necessary.
    • When the obscene AIG bonuses became public in early 2009, the American people reacted angrily, wanting to punish Wall Street executives. The White House reacted late with righteous indignation; then did nothing.
    • The president talks tough with banks one day, then has an olive branch for them the next. All while the banks screw Americans out of their homes, even though the American people kept the fat cat bankers from losing their own multiple million-dollar homes across the nation with billions of dollars in bailouts.

It is abundantly clear that President Obama

is unwilling to fire back at his critics,

who disrespect him and the office of the president.

  • Instead of taking charge of his agenda, he is willing to let others blow him off to pursue their own.
    • The White House bowed to Republicans in the Senate in not appointing Elizabeth Warren as head of the Consumer Protection Bureau.
    • Has the president made a stink about the GOP refusing to allow his appointees to move forward?

Americans respond to decisiveness.

They respond to a leader who makes clear what he wants

and will use the power of the presidency

to take on those who oppose him.

  • Right now, it appears President Obama is working to not lose, as opposed to fighting to win. And that simply ain’t gonna cut it.

read the entire article at … http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/09/02/martin.obama.power



Sad to say, I agree with Mr. Martin. It’s time. It’s past time. If President Obama wants to earn the support he is asking me and other Democrats for every day, it’s time to earn it. 

Obama’s policies are much better than those of the Republican/Tea Party “know nothings” or any of the GOP presidential candidates.

But what good are policies if you don’t fight for them. Mr. President, get in the fight! 


A personal note … a small township in New Jersey cannot be compared in any meaningful way to the United States government. But the need to deal forcefully with opponents and failure to perform has parallels in all organizations. Many years ago, I was the CEO of that small township. There were opposition members on the town council who saw it as their political mission to destroy my credibility. I chose my issues and took them on, one after the other, in public, forcefully, with enough facts to bury them. Once was enough for each. We continued to disagree on issues but from then on everyone was treated with respect. Two of the three even became personal friends. Same for incompetence. I don’t like to fire anyone, never did. But if the snow doesn’t get plowed, it’s the boss’s job to find out why and deal with the person who was responsible. It’s amazing how one or two forceful actions change the entire tone of the management interaction. Once people know you mean it, you can work together to solve problems. Most elected politicians have never had this kind of experience at any level, and it shows. But the smart ones learn.



5 Responses to “* Roland Martin (CNN) … When will this president exert some presidential muscle? … LMW: If President Obama wants to earn the support he is asking me and other Democrats for every day, it’s time to earn it. Mr. President, get in the fight!”

  1. Lew Weinstein said

    Brian said: “You will probably not agree with my next line” …

    You’re right. You are frustrated. I am frustrated. But dumping Obama now will just mean giving our country to the Republican/Tea Party “know nothings.” Our best option is to keep pushing Obama and hope he has it in him.

    Look, even AJ pitched a good game last night.

    • But we know he doesn’t have it in him. There is no way that he can. The newness has also worn off. In fact, we are all sick of all of the politicians. We’re a consumer culture. Time for a strong new person to enter the race. That would be an exciting story for the public. The country has already been handed to the Republican/Tea Party “know nothings” — by Obama. And many of his supporters aren’t standing up sufficiently to what’s going on, especially war, torture,spying, etc., because Obama has made those terrible Bush policies his own. Time for liberals to dump Obama, perhaps get him to decide not to stand for president, and support someone real.

      • Jonathan said

        Mr. Foley,

        I understand and share your frustration, but short-term, short-sighted government is the problem, and kicking someone out of office after a single term for failing to master the system will only lead to another one-termer who fails as well. My hope is that Obama knows he needs to be more forceful, and that the election and (hopefully) a second term without re-election pressures will allow him to demonstrate that forcefulness. I do not share your belief that he “doesn’t have it in him.”

        I think it would be a horrible mistake for the Democrats to put forth any candidate other than Obama. Doing so would imply that nothing good was accomplished under this Democratic president, which is not true. As noted on this blog and elsewhere, the criticisms from the left are not about the direction Obama has taken the country, but rather the degree.

        I believe Democrats will certainly achieve more with a second term Obama presidency than they could hope to accomplish with any other Democratic candidate in office – assuming another candidate could win. The impact on America of a Republican re-taking the presidency in the current political environment seems so detrimental that I can not fathom Democrats who truly support progressive, liberal, Democratic policies risking this. The safest bet is on Obama to do more in a second term. The riskiest bet is to chance presenting a weaker candidate and losing the election.

      • @Jonathan: I base my belief on the fact that it’s been 2.5 years … He doesn’t have it in him. I was not at all initially one of the people who said he lacked experience, etc. In fact, I’m a law professor and liked seeing a law professor get elected president (by way of the Senate, I know).

        Also, your response seems to imply that Obama can win in 2012. I have serious, serious doubts about that. Very serious doubts. Indeed, he was beaten, essentially, in 2010 midterms. And he is being beaten by the right wing in almost everything else. The debt ceiling negotiations were a disgrace, and there are and will be serious negative consequences for our nation as a result.

        You also seem to imply that a different candidate would be weaker than Obama (impossible!) and could not win. I think that a strong candidate could actually win for the Democrats. In any event, that is what I meant in my earlier post.

        As for being more forceful: I think Obama will use more forceful rhetoric as the campaign heats up, but what will his actions be? That’s what I’m judging.

        And as for the inexperience issue: George W Bush, way less smart than Obama (at least I assume), was also inexperienced. True, he’d been governor of Texas. And, true, he surrounded himself with the likes of Dark Cheney. But newcomer George W. Bush accomplished A LOT. In fact, he radically transformed this country and the office of the presidency. I don’t like what Bush accomplished. I don’t see Obama even learning from his first four years. He hasn’t learned from his first 2.5. He needs to be relieved of his command, so to speak, and if Democrats don’t do that, Republicans will.

  2. Great post. I was reading someone recently who pointed out that conservatives, when angry, take over the G (sic) OP. Liberals, this person argued, should take over the Democratic Party rather than going off to vote for a third party. You will probably not agree with my next line, which is, It’s time to find a candidate to run against Obama. He’s had enough time now, and he’s shown sixteen ways from Sunday that he’s not up to the job. He’s overseeing the government’s further move to the right, regardless of the deleterious consequences of that. What good would four more years of this guy be? Do any good candidates come to mind? Someone new and exciting and bold and who we know will do what is best for the country and who can lead … I’d be interested in names.

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