Obama Redefined

By Mark Esposito

Had It About Up To Here.

Chastened by the “Mandate of the Mid-terms’? Hardly. Doubling down on his confrontation with Republicans who control both houses of Congress but lacking a veto proof super majority, Barack Obama has decided to give Americans a real policy choice.  Eschewing the “work-it-out, concede where you have to” mentality that has drawn the ire  of progressives and conservatives alike, the President has decided to contest the notion that Americans sent Republican values to Washington along with the Republican representatives.

First on the agenda, immigration reform which he promises will come in the form of Executive Order. Even the most jaded conservative Congressional historian has to conclude that this Congress has abdicated on the issue in favor of partisan (and likely racial) demagoguery leaving the fate of 12 million undocumented aliens swinging in the balance. A curious stance given the rise of Hispanic voters who comprise the same ethnicity as many of those undocumented workers.

“That’s gonna happen. That’s gonna happen before the end of the year,” says the Commander-in-Chief with not a hint of “please, pretty-please.”

Second, protecting Obamacare. Despite polls showing overwhelming support for the main struts underpinning the health care initiative, Republican lawmakers, appealing to their reactionary base, have named this Public Enemy Number 1. From incessant court challenges to dissemination of videos showing supporters insulting the intelligence of voters, the conservative agents of no change – never have decided they know best — in service to the monied interests that have co-opted health care to the profit motive. Obama says he welcomes the legal challenge which appears headed to the Republican-dominated Supreme Court given the split among the Circuits. CJ Roberts on the tetherhooks again? It seems likely.

Lastly, the Keystone XL pipeline which has been excoriated by environmentalists and progressives faces an almost certain veto.  The pipe would “run from Alberta’s tar-sands fields through Montana and South Dakota to link up with the system in Steele City, Nebraska. It would transport bitumen and liquefied natural gas drawn from the tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast, mainly in Texas.” This addition to an existing pipeline does almost nothing to add resources to an America awash in shale oil. A plummeting demand in world oil demand makes the pipeline less than superfluous. It adds nothing to the job market and more than one observer, including the prestigious Global Labor Institute at Cornell University, thinks it would kill as many jobs as it produces.

The big beef is that it adds to America’s dependence on foreign oil if you can believe it. But in the salons of the world’s big money it makes perfect sense.The project is funded by multi-nationals including the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia (PDF) who obviously wants to foster American oil independence, right? And of course, China, our inscrutable “ally,” who just deployed their most formidable air craft carrier, too, is a prime beneficiary investing billions in Canadian oil sands. Another piece-meal sale of America to profit the rich at detriment of the national interest. Obama says “no.”

Bull-headedness? Actually, a pretty savvy political strategy to give the 66% of America who didn’t vote earlier this month a taste of  Tea Party America courtesy of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. For a President once derided as too weak and willing to compromise, it’s a redefining moment of political courage and adherence to the principles a lot of people questioned whether he really believed in or not .

Now fully subscribed, Obama, stands at the great precipice between a legacy of great success and miserable failure. It’s the country that is watching and we like challenges between great social forces. Bring it on — and let it define us, too.

~Mark Esposito

Source: CNN

About mespo727272

I 'm a plaintiff's personal injury attorney with 30 years of trial experience practicing with my law school classmate in Richmond, Virginia. You can read all about me here: www.schillingandesposito.com
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47 Responses to Obama Redefined

  1. eniobob says:

    Great take on the whole ball of wax Espo.Popcorn down here in the first row please.

  2. Sometimes positive change only comes after the scoundrels get their way and the public sees the consequences, but I still think Obama’s legacy will be defined by his capitulations (ACA, etc.) and direct violations of principle (the claim of the ultra vires power to execute citizens without due process, etc.) in the long term. That being said, I agree that Obama is at a Rubicon moment as are we all. The low turn out illustrates just how disenfranchised most Americans feel; that their votes are meaningless against the corrupting influence of money upon the system.

  3. GW Bush gave the world of finance to robber baron,s elite and left a wake of scheme nightmares for the new POTUS to handle, upon his deparature after 2008.

    Obama gives lowest unemploy, high stock market and clean up of immigration issues.

    Comparing a goid apple to a rotten one, just doesn,t seem fair.

  4. eniobob says:

    I’m going to start this at the end simply because its a BINGO!! and goes with Espos thread:”

    “Or let’s imagine the GOP had nominated Romney that year. The health-care reform Romney endorsed also would have been pretty much the same as the plan Obama pushed through.

    So why the Republican outrage? The only possible explanation is because Obama is beating them at their own game.

    That they should never have played it in the first place does not seem to have occurred to them.”


  5. po says:

    Nice framing of the issues, Mespo!
    I have always said that Obama’s presidency held off the revolution a bit longer. Were Mitt Romney the current president, the forces in this conflict would have been more vehement and the gulfs between all the various political and social parties more obvious.
    I have been talking a lot of crap about Obama, mainly about his relentless need to compromise even to the point of losing the game altogether. I have been getting the hint that he has been doing it in the best manner we could hope for. The saying “kicking a donkey…” comes to mind.
    Whether out of democratic principles or out of cowardice, his tactic (random) is working, and I suspect his legacy is already established, and not so much for what he did, but in relation to the political and economical environment in which he did it.
    The republicans have established themselves as the party of No, and with their extreme branch of the Tea party, they are afraid of their own shadow. Their ideas do not have the benefit of the population in mind, and those republicans who did not vote know it. Those who voted, voted against Obama, not for Republican ideas.
    Obama has given to the ideals of democratic “reach-out”, he has also given to the democratic party as evidenced by his delaying many decisions until after the midterm, he has now 2 years to sculpt his legacy, which at this stage of the game is the single most important thing to a sitting president. His elbows are sharpened and he is not gonna let anyone rob him of it, whether the left or the right.
    Pass the popcorn here, Eniobob, hold the butter.

  6. swarthmoremom says:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/11/conservatives-lets-shut-down-and-impeach.html“In the wake of the midterm elections, Republicans said they would prove they could govern. This did not, in contrast to the flickering hopes of bipartisans, mean that they would start passing business-friendly reform bills that Obama would sign. It meant they would keep the kooks locked in the basement. Republicans had swept the elections by making politics boring, relentlessly policing their nominees from uttering any controversial statements, and grinding Washington to a halt. The Republican plan for the next two years was continued, boring gridlock. No shutdowns, no impeachment.

    The cycle of events was set off by President Obama snubbing the traditional ritual of penitence at his post-midterm press conference, crediting the Republicans with merely a “good night” rather than supplying them with a brandable term like “thumpin’” or “shellacking,” and generally acting unchastened. He followed this up with a series of steps that displayed a desire to continue acting like the president rather than waiting quietly for his term to end: He endorsed vigorous support for net neutrality, secured a major climate agreement with China, and plans a major liberalization of immigration law through executive action.”

  7. Mike Spindell says:

    I just hope Obama follows through with his needed new resolve. Sadly, he has promised resolve in the past and then blinked.

    • ragnarsbhut says:

      Mike Spindell, the only thing that was truly transparent about Barack Obama’s administration were egregious abuses of power. How any person cannot see that is absurd.

  8. Excellent…. I hope he shoves these down the throat of congress…. One I am concerned about though is keystone…. They have a proven disaster record and the inability to timely react to leaks and spills…. Take for instance the leaks in Michigan where they are still cleaning up a polluted river years after…. I think the Saudi folks lowering the prices are going to cause this one to be a major concern for the American people….

  9. bettykath says:

    President Obama endorsed vigorous support for net neutrality, but he appointed the chief lobbyist for the industry of Comcast and Time Warner as the head of the FCC. Don’t just listen to his words, watch his actions.

    He secured a major climate agreement with China where the United States would cut its carbon emissions between 26-28% — from levels established in 2005 — by 2025. China would PEAK its carbon emissions no later than 2030 and would also increase the use of non-fossil fuels to 20% by 2030. Let’s hope that by 2025 or 2030 that NYC, Florida, New Orleans, islands in the Pacific, etc are not all underwater. And let’s hope the Gulf Stream conveyor hasn’t stopped thereby bringing on a new ice age.

    I look forward the implementation of what he is now advocating, but I’ve been here before. Before journalists and the rest of us had all of electronic communications collected, before drones killed innocent people in several countries, before drones killed some maybe not so innocent people without due process.

    As for the Republicans mandate, it’s due to gerrymandered districts, oppressive poll tax voter id laws, caging, Republican-owned computers with proprietary software, poorly calibrated touch screens that always seem to change a Democrat vote to a Republican vote. As Chris Cristie has said, getting the governorships of the states is key to a Republican win in 2016. Now what could he have been thinking?

  10. blouise says:

    “Bull-headedness? Actually, a pretty savvy political strategy to give the 66% of America who didn’t vote earlier this month a taste of Tea Party America courtesy of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. For a President once derided as too weak and willing to compromise, it’s a redefining moment of political courage and adherence to the principles a lot of people questioned whether he really believed in or not .” – Mark

    It’s a risk but a risk I believe the hierarchy decided to take and, if one remembers Tony’s strategy recommendations, a risk very much worth taking. It puts Obama back in the position of vote-getter for whomever is on the ticket in 2016. The Democrats will then push health-care, immigration, strengthening the middle-class, and banking reform. The Republicans will be stuck with big oil, big pharma, Wall Street, racial divide, the NRA, and possibly two years of Impeachment proceedings and shutdown tactics … or, at least, threats thereof to keep their base happy.

    As long as Obama doesn’t blink (Mike 😉 ), it’ll work.

    Eniobob and I are investing in a popcorn machine because even if you don’t want to eat it, throwing it at the stage is also a time honoured tradition.

  11. eniobob says:

    That’s funny B, Sorry for giving you a new name (twice) Mespo .

  12. buckaroo says:

    Excuses, excuses — the middle class income worker still pays all the bills thanks to this terrible tax code & not a word from our President. He talks a good game but as long as he supports our inequitable tax code, they are all empty words to the working income class He talks about the wealthy with derision, but who does he seek to become ?

  13. blouise says:

    The Ferguson Police Chief released the Brown video against the wishes of the Feds. The Police Chief told the initial story which was collaborated by the man with Brown. The Police Chief then changed the story once the video backfired. In all these efforts the Police Chief was simply following Ferguson SOP which had served so many in power so well for decades.

    How was he to know that the shooting of Michael Brown was going to become Ferguson’s Rosa Parks moment and that he, like so many others before him, would find himself on the wrong side of history..

    Just ask William F. Buckley, Jr. The first item always cited to disparage Buckley’s legacy was his record during the decade between the Montgomery bus boycott and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “Buckley was not himself a bigot,” Tim Noah wrote in Slate the day Buckley died, “but he was at best blind and at worst indifferent to the bigotry all around him, and there can be no question that he stood in the way of racial progress.”

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

  14. blouise17 says:

    Sorry … wrong thread

  15. OroLee says:

    Not exactly on topic, but who didn’t see this coming?

    GOP hires legal scholar to oversee Obama lawsuit

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/gop-lawsuit-jonathan-turley-112980.html#ixzz3JSY0KG1i

  16. swarthmoremom says:

    Orolee, Not surprising…….

  17. swarthmoremom says:

    OroLee, The right wing crowd at his blog is pumped up……

  18. Mike Spindell says:

    SwM & Oro Lee,

    One didn’t need the weatherman to see which way the wind blew. I knew the jig was up back then when JT casually admitted that he had been an NSA intern.

  19. po says:

    He was?
    I have been pretty tough on him lately, his insistence of featuring the extremes of the international crowd rather than the ones relating to us, right here, have been feeling like bait click and distraction.
    I have wondered quite often in the last 2 weeks why I keep subscribing to his blog, because I am not sure exactly what its purpose/focus is, to be frank with you. The most relevant posts I have read there of late have come from the weekend bloggers.

  20. Mike,

    I must have missed that one about Turley working for the NSA…. Do you recall which thread…. Things are coming into focus now….. Especially since he is Johns best friend…..

  21. OroLee says:

    I miss “Find the Kitteth.” Its replacement, “Find the Bigot,” is way too easy.

  22. swarthmoremom says:

    I remember it, Mike. It was a thread about the NSA ,and he disclosed that he had been an intern there.

  23. swarthmoremom says:

    “Find the non bigot” would be more like “find the kitteh”.

  24. Anonymously Yours says:


    Thanks I will look that up. You are so correct about the bigotry there….

  25. mespo727272 says:

    It’s funny that the Obama criticism came along with near complete silence on Republican governmental abuses. Haven’t seen a single post that would even slightly offend any wing nut in months over at RIL. That’s a sea change if you look at the blog history.

  26. Anonymously Yours says:


    Turley finally emailed me and said that he’s not letting anyone back on RIL. Literally speaking he can say that….. However, technically he can not be sure if he is correct.

    Never thought I’d say turley wants yes men…. So sad…. You lose respect for people like that…..

  27. mespo727272 says:


    That’s what I thought would happen. It’s RIL’s loss.

  28. Anonymously Yours says:

    So much for the idea of and support of free speech…. But when the guest bloggers were getting attacked and couldn’t stand up to the bullying, I decidd to give turley a taste of his own advice….. See how well it worked out… I think that’s what you call a hypocrite…. I was warned… Too bad he never warned those attacking the GBs….

  29. mespo727272 says:


    We went from JT not even reading our weekend posts (once he posted the exact same story I did on Geraldo Rivera) to micromanagement of each comment under the so-called “civility policy.” Must be a reason for the change.

  30. pete says:

    on “find the kitteh” there was only one per thread.

  31. mespo727272 says:


    They were warned we were told but we never saw much follow through against the right-wing crowd.

  32. Anonymously Yours says:


    I recall that as well as other indiscretions….


    Smart Ass….

  33. Anonymously Yours says:

    Warned as in don’t do that…. Nick should have been banned and I did not see it for what it was…. I have apologized to Gene for my defense of him…. I guess I didn’t know the history….

  34. I heard an interesting expression the other day. “You kill the narcissist when you remove his mirror.” Sounds like someone got their mirror back. Good for him.

    Better for us.

    To paraphrase Lt. Aldo Raine, “We like our hypocrites in uniform. That way we can spot ’em just like that.”

  35. blouise17 says:

    I was reading a comment over on Dailykos and had an Aha moment. The poster remarked that JT seemed to get testy after Sotomayor’s appointment. Think about it.

  36. AY,

    We all make mistakes. It is whether you learn from them and what you learn from them that is important. The fact that Jon only has two of his original GB’s and how he handled the matters leading to the schism is plain for anyone to see if they should care to examine the record. That he is not the image he projects and/or his projection is based upon money/fame/lust for power rather than principle is his failure of character and no one else. By reading the comments at the DK (and here) there is one thing clear to me: his hypocrisy and superficial lip service to rights has not gone unnoticed.

    Some people never learn.

  37. po says:

    I had to laugh when Nick got a comment deleted by the managing guest blogger when JT was away! Obviously Nick took it the wrong way, looking forward to JT’s return! The irony was that the shoe was on the other foot and he was oblivious to it, demanding the same control on others as was demanded on him.

  38. Anonymously Yours says:

    Thank you for the Sotomyer remark Blouise…..

    Well Gene, I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes. Yes, brown is the new pin stripe blue…. With emblems and crosses….

  39. Anonymously Yours says:

    I missed the nazi deletion…. Good for him po….

  40. Elaine M. says:

    JT talking to Keith Olbermann about Sotomayor:
    We’re not picking a best friend…and we’re not picking a house pet.

  41. Elaine M. says:


    “Turley finally emailed me and said that he’s not letting anyone back on RIL. ”

    Oh my! Well, we’re happy to have you here commenting at FFS. I don’t spend much time at RIL these days. It’s as Po said about RL and there being lots of posts “featuring the extremes of the international crowd rather than the ones relating to us…” Gone are the days of scintillating and intellectual discussions. It’s a shame because it was such a wonderful forum for exchanging thoughts and ideas at one time.



    It’s great to have you back posting at Flowers for Socrates again!

  42. Mike Spinde;; says:

    “I remember it, Mike. It was a thread about the NSA ,and he disclosed that he had been an intern there.”


    Thanks for jogging my memory. It had to have been at a time before I left RIL which was in mid January 2014. I must admit shock….then slow cognition when I read about it. Things just clicked. The other thing was I then started looking through his most famous “civil rights” cases and they were primarily fatuous and dealt with White people. He is building his brand and increasing his status for the glorification of Jonathan Turley. Pathetic. However, the blame rests with those of us who put too much faith in him and didn’t recognize the signs that it was misdirected.

  43. Anonymously Yours says:

    But Mike he was so appreciative to have us… He even sent us Christmas/Holiday salutations….

  44. blouise17 says:

    I learned a hell of a lot over there about the law and the Constitution. There used to be a plethora of lawyers posting and every one of them were more than willing to suspend arguing with each other to explain and answer questions from a novice. Even JT would post links to papers he thought might help nonprofessional like myself understand the finer points that were being made.

    Oh well, times change. I did make some really good friends with whom I still converse. 😉

  45. Anonymously Yours says:


    Check your inbox. Just a suggestion.

  46. swarthmoremom says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/opinion/charles-blow-bigger-than-immigration.html?_r=0“Don’t let yourself get lost in the weeds. Don’t allow yourself to believe that opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration is only about that issue, the president’s tactics, or his lack of obsequiousness to his detractors.

    This hostility and animosity toward this president is, in fact, larger than this president. This is about systems of power and the power of symbols. Particularly, it is about preserving traditional power and destroying emerging symbols that threaten that power. This president is simply the embodiment of the threat, as far as his detractors are concerned, whether they are willing or able to articulate it as such.

    A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last week found that the public “wants immigration policy along the lines of what President Barack Obama seeks but is skeptical of the executive action.” When The Journal looked at some of the people who “say they want to see a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants — which is beyond what Mr. Obama’s executive order would do — but say they disapprove of presidential executive action,” it found that the group was “overwhelmingly white and more likely to be Republican than not” and some said that they simply “don’t like anything associated with the president.”

    Pay attention to the overall response from all sources, particularly the rhetoric in which it is wrapped.”

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