Liberal MSNBC Host Says Obama Broke “American Politics Even Further”

Fresh off his weeks-long stint flacking for Paul Ryan’s poverty plan, Vox publisher and All In fill-in host Ezra Klein further dabbled in Beltway view-from-nowhere dumbshittery Wednesday night when he declared, to MSNBC viewers, that President Obama broke politics. He promised to change politics, but instead, he broke them worse than they already were broken. Just listen:

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“The president didn’t do all of this by fixing American politics. He did this by breaking American politics even further.”

It goes on like that, and if you can stand it, check out the whole thing, but everything you need to know about Klein’s flawed, credibility-seeking logic is right there. As you can see, he goes on to say tat it’s not President Obama’s fault, but to be clear, he’s not saying Obama didn’t break politics, he’s saying Obama was forced to break politics. The theory is that despite all of his promises, Republicans were such pricks that Obama had no choice but to become a partisan ramrod, further dividing our country.

Now, even if you accept that narrative, saying Obama broke politics is like saying Jesus sure stained the shit out of that cross. Klein pegs unyielding Republican resistance to the President to 2010, arguably after Obama had done some stuff to piss Republicans off. The truth is, it started within hours of President Obama’s inauguration. President Obama didn’t break politics, politics set out to break him, from Jump Street.

But even if you accept that President Obama should take the blame for Republican dickishness, because he should have just kept reaching out, and kept trying, and compromised with them, well, that’s what he did. There’s this legend around DC that the President had this huge Democratic majority for two years, and got to ramrod his every whim through Congress, but in reality, his obstruction-proof majority lasted about 14 weeks, in all.

Even when he had that majority, though, the President still let Republicans stick all kinds of crap in the Affordable Care Act (which was, itself, a Republican idea), and loaded up 40% of the stimulus with tax cuts. Against all good sense and reason, he negotiated with the Republicans on the debt ceiling in 2011, which led to the disastrous sequester. He left a good chunk of the Bush tax cuts in place in the fiscal cliff deal when he didn’t have to, and gave up the payroll tax holiday. He and the Democrats offered up a background check bill that was so watered down, dolphins were mating in it, and the Republicans still shot it down. He’s put more troops on our border than Bush put in Afghanistan, and they threaten to impeach him over immigration. If anything, President Obama has been entirely too committed to smashing his head against the brick wall of futile bipartisanship.

The shame of it is that Klein pegged his premise to a Rolling Stone article by Reid Cherlin, a former Obama press aide who is also an excellent, keenly insightful writer who did not say that Obama broke politics. Thankfully, an awesome technical difficulty finally made it stop, at least for a minute:

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What’s weird is that Klein used an almost identical photo of Obama to illustrate his point as I used earlier today to illustrate the opposite point. That’s the insidious thing about the Beltway mentality: if you stare long enough, what you’re looking at doesn’t change, but what you see does.

Ezra Klein is a hell of a smart guy, but this recent instinct of his, whether it’s a credibility-seeking move or a too-vigorous resistance to confirmation bias, is not serving him well, and it’s serving MSNBC viewers even more poorly.

  • BayGirl

    Ezra has been voted off the island. I use to respect his analysis but no more. He’s been drinking a big glass of red kool-aid. Don’t bother hiding it anymore. I’d respect that more.

  • Loredana Dodson

    Anyone should always remember that during the inauguration ,Mich the turtle told Biden that he would not work with president Obama ,then spend the next four years opposing him so he could be a one term president .Yes Asra Klein you are wrong about this one !

  • Tort Master

    History will be kind to President Obama. To accomplish the amazing things he has coming out of the specter of world-wide economic collapse and two wars is incredible. Regulations on Wall Street (Dodd-Frank), ObamaCare, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Saving the automobile industry, the minimum wage, a new START Treaty, got the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board up and running, created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, appointed excellent women to the Supreme Court, got Iran to the bargaining table (Syria too), released the Bush torture reports, built FEMA up, constructed the first plan to attack Climate Change, and on and on and on. Change happened, but people were arguing too much to notice.

  • HilaryB

    “President Obama didn’t break politics, politics set out to break him, from Jump Street.”

    Surely, Ezra knows this to be true. He’s not a stupid guy. So, what’s his agenda? We don’t need any more Chuck Todds running around.

    • feloniousgrammar

      “Jump Street”?

  • RocketRaccoon

    “saying Obama broke politics is like saying Jesus sure stained the shit out of that cross. ”

    LMAO

    This is how a large percentage of the right / left has treated President Obama since the day he took office.

    If you get tired of calling him a useless wimp who won’t fight…simply switch over to calling him an arrogant dictator who always wants his way.

    As the 2014 elections draw closer the ratfucking from the professional left is gonna reach a fever pitch.

  • bigdo

    here comes the eventual liberal guilt implosion that will undoubtedly divide us again…

    then again, it’s D.C., who really thought Obama would get a bunch of things done, liberal or otherwise? The naive nature of that mentality after Obama won the first time is what’s got so many people down… It’s like Americans love to get their hopes up and then have them crushed. I had hopes for Obama, but I knew as the 1st half black man to enter that office, that the deck was absolutely loaded against him and that he or anyone else getting in there was more or less a puppet of big banks and big corporations, and don’t tell me he wasn’t.

    We won’t really see a “change” until we get all of this money out of the process and even then there’s gonna be a huge amount of shit pie to slice through…

    I’m afriad that I share Klein’s sentiment insofar as, yeah, this shit is definitely broken and the chances of it being properly fixed are just so enormously low… I differ in opinion in that it was Obama being a catalyst for all of this.. Nope… that’s just not the reality… just isn’t… Obama’s new presence just highlighted what was always here in America as far as race, politics and the ruinous flaws that eventually will collapse the ever loving shit out of this great experiement, that in all actuality was just what unfolded after Natives were slaughtered, and Africans from another world were brought in for the purpose of chattel slavery.

    • beulahmo

      “…Obama’s new presence just highlighted what was always here in America…”

      Exactly. The nature of what polarizes us comes into increasingly sharper focus. All the plausible denials have burned and fallen away, and the image of what’s true about our culture and our politics is in bold relief.

  • spiderbucket

    It’s interesting that this author and others on this site really like to throw people under the bus for not having the exact right position at the exact right time. Pretty much everyone who has ever been left leaning in the past is fair game. Not that we could learn anything from their years of experience or anything. Tommy could at least ask Nader for advice on losing his virginity or shaving or something like that.

  • cosliberal

    There was a time when Klein aspired to be a responsible journalist, now he simply aspires to be another Beltway hack. Change the channel when he comes on, ignore his website.

  • OptimisticallyCynical

    This website’s knee jerk response to any criticism of Pres. Obama is a bit over the top. Believe it or not, Obama does share some of the blame for the state of the political landscape. Any and every politician in a leadership position in DC has played a role in creating the dysfunction. Maybe at some point a real leader will step up and take some ownership.

    Clinton dealt with constant harassment from Congress, spending a solid 6 years with Ken Starr up his ass. Somehow Clinton managed to form an agenda and move it along. I don’t think Obama is a horrible president but he certainly isn’t a skillful enough politician to accomplish what Clinton did in the face of a hostile Congress. Obama couldn’t even manage a coherent agenda with a Democratic Congress.

    • Scopedog

      Clinton wasn’t Black and wasn’t subjected to racist code words and dog whistles. And while the GOP in Clinton’s era were nuts, they were not batshit crazy like the Tea Party infested GOP of today.

      …..just sayin’…

      • OptimisticallyCynical

        So…we should lower our expectations?

        • feloniousgrammar

          Many of us just acknowledge how our three branches of government are structured and don’t expect Obama to spend all day changing diapers in the House.

        • nathkatun7

          Nobody said you had to lower your expectations. What you should do is understand the reality and environment that President Obama has had to operate in. Unless you are suffering from Amnesia, you should also note that Clinton inherited a country that was relatively in good shape, whereas Obama inherited a country on the verge of total economic catastrophe, which was at the same time embroiled in two wars. On top of that, he has faced a vicious opposition party, which, from day one his presidency, vowed to oppose everything he tried to do. Any fair minded person who looks at the state of the country now, compared to the state the country was in when Obama was first sworn in, would have to agree that President Obama has done a masterful job.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            Unfortunately, I don’t have amnesia. I could use a good case of it in order to forget the past several years. This country has suffered under 14 years of poor leadership. That’s a collective failure and the president is part of that “collective” be he named Bush or Obama. The Federal government is suffering from corruption, lack of leadership and a severe lack of accountability.

            I came of age during Reagan. Cast my first presidential vote for GHWB. Enthusiastically supported Clinton the first time around….and have been sorely disappointed ever since. 1992…that’s the last time I voted FOR someone. The quality of leadership in Congress and the White House has been gradually eroding for….I’m not sure how long. A less optimistically cynical acquaintance tells me it’s been going downhill since FDR. Sadly, most voters either don’t want or don’t expect better. I’m tired of the excuses. Lead or leave.

          • Marcus Shelton

            So both sides. Yeah people like your are part of the problem. People like you continually give republicans all the cover they need to get crazier and crazier without any fear of retribution because vacillators like you constantly swish back and forth and when a politicians which you vote for blow up the country you fall back into the both sides are bad bs. Unfortunately your ilk infests the media to a great extent.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            Ugh…that’s just lazy. Let me guess: that’s a go to argument you dash off pretty frequently.

            I voted GOP once…when I was 21. Four years later I was married and had a child. My politics turned hard left for the most part and have been there ever since. Unfortunately, the Democrats abandoned me. GHWB was about as conservative as Clinton. When Clinton moved to the right, all of politics seemed to shift with him. The Dems occupied moderate republican space and the GOP moved to crazy town.Then came NAFTA, welfare cuts and near universal support for a war of aggression….fml.

            The Democratic Party is abusing you. They know they can count on your loyalty and that you’ll vote for whichever schmuck they trot out there. Seriously….John fucking Kerry?!? At least Obama sounded good. We’ll keep getting lousy candidates until people demand better. Voting for a candidate simply because that candidate has the right letter after her name is stupid. I do have my limits, though. If an asshole like Santorum gets the nod from the GOP, I’ll vote for the person with the D after his name.

          • spiderbucket

            You are not ‘pure’ enough, bro. And you voted GOP once in your life, so you cannot possibly be anything other than a war loving bigot. How dare you think for yourself.

          • spiderbucket

            People like ‘you’ will not be allies next election and then what will you say ? It’s racist when you won’t give us your votes even as we insult you. That will work great. See you in November.

          • nathkatun7

            I came of age during Dwight Eisenhower’s time but I’ve consciously followed Presidents since JFK. As far as I am concerned, President Obama is by one of the best Presidents who has had to operate against incredible odds. Yet he remains optimistic, focused and graceful.

            I have studied FDR’s presidency, and you should go see how purity progressives like you and right wingers were attacking him. By the way, FDR, the hero of the progressives was really not that progressive. To be sure his New Deal Programs tried to ease the Depression, but it wasn’t until WWII, almost 10 years in FDR’s presidency, that the country began to seriously pull out of the great Depression. Moreover, most of those New Deal programs were flawed because they discriminated against many African Americans. This was true Social Security, Minimum wage and Forty-hour work week, FHA, AAA, and a whole host of others. It’s no wonder Black people called it the “Raw Deal.” FDR, unlike his wife Eleanor, was not a strong supporter of Civil Rights. He presided over a segregated military and it took a threat by A. Philip
            Randolph to March on Washington that forced FDR to bad racial discrimination in defense industries, though not in the military. I am sure since you claim to be a Civil Libertarian you must know that FDR rounded up tens of thousands of Japanese Americans from their homes and farms and forced them in internment camps without trial.

            There is a tendency for people to idolize the past by overlooking all the bad things that happened. The so called progressives have created the Myth of FDR as this ideal progressive when, in reality,
            FDR was moderate to conservative man who was very practical
            and tried to implement programs to deal with the severe economic crisis of the Depression. Progressives also forget that FDR was aided by the fact that Democrats controlled 2/3rds of both Houses of Congress. Still, the Democratic party was made up of a coalitions, and one the most powerful one was the Southern Segregationists. New Deal programs, such as SS, had to be compromised to satisfy Southern Segregationists. Hence the exclusion of Agricultural and Domestic workers who would not be covered until 1970s and 1980s, respectively.

            Those who idolize FDR also fail to mention that most of his early New Deal programs were declared unconstitutional by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court. FDR tried to pack the court, but was rebuffed by Congress. In other words, FDR was not perfect.

            I was born when Harry Truman was President and became a
            teenager during Eisenhower’s second term. But the President I consciously remember are from JFK to BO. I am sure ten, twenty, thirty years from now, people will look back fondly on the accomplishments of President Obama. All the records of his accomplishments, which the media refuses to cover and highlight
            will be available to historians. I say that because I’ve seen the
            images of Truman, LBJ, and even the disgraced Richard Nixon, rehabilitated, although all three left office with very law approval ratings.

          • feloniousgrammar

            Well, all these emos idolizing FDR, don’t care about blacks and women much, either. The fact that they see a few facts that they claim to be all for, then run them through their heads and judge them as if it were accomplished in real life just like that, is just more evidence of how out of touch they are with the political realities of the history of American governments, and work itself.

          • nathkatun7

            You are absolutely spot-on, feloniousgrammar.

        • spiderbucket

          Yes, across the board – isn’t that equality ?

      • spiderbucket

        I’m glad (and not at all surprised) that you are just waiting to throw out that race card when you can no longer defend his failures. I wonder if that will cross anyone’s mind when they vote going forward ?

    • Rollo Tamasi

      “but he certainly isn’t a skillful enough politician to accomplish what Clinton did in the face of a hostile Congress.”

      Yeah, when Clinton passed that comprehension health reform bill his skillfulness was on full display.

      • OptimisticallyCynical

        Yes…he certainly whiffed on health insurance reform but his administration learned from that experience. Clinton owned Gingrich and Co. after 1994.

        Does any politician have the skill necessary to be a successful President in the current climate? Maybe not. Maybe I’m asking too much but I’m going to keep looking for a leader who can manipulate a hostile Congress.

        • nathkatun7

          “Clinton owned Gingrich and Co. after 1994.”

          1.So what major legislation did Clinton enact after 1994?
          2. If “Clinton owned Gingrich” how come the majority of Gingrich’s House of Representatives impeached him in 1998? Do you realize how close Clinton came from being removed from office?

      • condew

        But Clinton did pass NAFTA. Oh, wait, that was something the Republicans wanted, and it put a knife in the back of labor. Never mind. I know, Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall. Oh, wait, that contributed to the Bush depression of 2008. Well Maybe Obama has been a better President than Clinton.

        • OptimisticallyCynical

          The evaluation of Clinton was politically neutral. I intensely disliked his policies. He pulled the Democrats to the right and co-opted some GOP policies: he cut welfare and called it “reform”. NAFTA was a labor horror show. Let’s not forget DOMA, the 1996 Telecommunications Act, WTO, etc. The Democrats have never really returned to where they were pre-Clinton. None of that changes the fact that Clinton was a brilliant politician. No politician elected to national office in the intervening 14+ years even comes close.

          DOMA is interesting. As much as they seem to take credit for being in front on LGBT issues, Democrats never really did much to move our policy forward actively. Gay marriage has made strides despite the Democrats, not because of them. Those rights have generally been won in the courts rather than the ballot box. Now that public opinion has shifted decisively, Democrats are suddenly very open about their support. Even Obama had a late epiphany.

          • jziglar

            Dude ! Obama has done so much for Gay rights and the fact that you dismiss his efforts in negotiating the end of DADT, and his help in ending DOMA including the numerous executive actions shows that you are not serious. Bill Clinton was a good President but he was an overrated politician. What great lasting change did he have on the country ? There wasn’t any landmark legislation that he helped passed that changed the social fabric of America.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            Clinton transformed the Democratic Party.

            Obama didn’t come around on gay marriage until 2010. I’d forgotten about DADT. God, what a horrible policy that was. I was in the military when that policy was instituted. At the time, we knew who the gay service members were and didn’t really care one way or the other.

          • jziglar

            Yeah he didn’t come around until then but he campaigned big time in 2008 on gay rights issues like ending DADT and DOMA. Fighting workplace discrimination.
            Like I said Clinton was a good president but he was not a transformational president.

          • nathkatun7

            “None of that changes the fact that Clinton was a brilliant politician”

            Hogwash! If Clinton was so brilliant how come in both of his elections he never won the majority of popular votes? In 1992 he won 43% and in 1992 he won 49%.

            “As much as they seem to take credit for being in front on LGBT issues, Democrats never really did much to move our policy forward actively”

            So ending DADT, the Matthew Shepherd hate crimes bill and the numerous Executive Orders issued by President prohibiting discrimination against LGBT, had nothing to do with Democrats.

            No matter how much President Obama to move the progressive agenda forward, people who hate him will never give him any credit. Never! It will be up to future objective historians to correct the record being distorted by the cynical dismissal of President Obama’s accomplishments.

    • Rollo Tamasi

      OptimisticallyCynical •2 years ago

      “Sure, drone strikes are a tool. So are suicide bombs. So are EIDs. Dirty bombs and aircraft flown into a tower is a “tools”.The
      drone strikes aren’t “problematic”, they kill children and other
      innocents. That makes us no better than the enemy we’re supposed to be
      fighting. Drone strikes are terrorism. Period.”

      I see where you’re coming from, now. No more responses from me.

      • OptimisticallyCynical

        You do yourself a disservice when you run away from opposing opinions.

        • feloniousgrammar

          I don’t see anyone “running away”. Do you feel the need to see that for some reason?

        • JozefAL

          No, that’s NOT what he said. What he did say, however, is that YOU have basically done a 180 from YOUR own comment from a mere 2 years ago.

          So, Rollo feels no real need to continue commenting on your inane shit.

        • nathkatun7

          He is refusing to waste his/her time with some one who is already biased against President Obama.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            I don’t get this line of reasoning. I have no personal investment in President Obama. ‘Biased against President Obama’….he either does things I value or he doesn’t.

            I think this is part of the general problem with the electorate. Politics has become tribal. A person is either in the tribe or out. I don’t have a bias one way or another wrt to President Obama. I have expectations. If the person in office meets those expectations…awesome. There are individual instances where I think Obama has managed the situation perfectly. For instance: Ukraine, Iraq, Syria…after initially stumbling, the most recent budget show down…I appreciated the way he handled (is handling) all those situations. More often than not, though, I’ve been disappointed.

          • nathkatun7

            Get in there and get yourself dirty. Run for office and find out what it takes to get things done in this complex U.S. political system. If Learn more about the three branches of government and how getting anything done, when one or two branches of the government, are controlled by people who are not interested in progress. Don’t just sit on the sidelines and peddle cynicism and then expect President Obama to give you all the ponies you wanted. No President, from George Washington to Barack Obama has been perfect. None of them. But as a student of history, I just don’t remember any Congress being more determined to obstruct a President as this Republican dominated Congress has been since the 2010 when Republican took over he House of Representatives and gained enough seats in the Senate to effectively obstruct everything using the filibuster. Go look at the Senate Republican filibuster record. There’s been more filibusters under President Obama alone than all the combined filibusters of all the Presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush.

            If you must be disappointed in President Obama, at least do so
            intelligently by objectively examining the reality of what he has had to deal with. It might also do you some good to study real history and not just rely on mythological history that makes the past look so rosy.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            I’m active in local politics. Any real change will start at this level. My hands are dirty enough.

            I haven’t even made the source or extent of my disappointment clear. What makes you think you can judge the validity?

            I admit, most of the message boards I frequent are populated by people who feel disenfranchised by the two major parties. It’s been a while since I’ve participated in any discussion with the party faithful. I’d forgotten just how faithful you guys were.

          • nathkatun7

            I am glad you are active in local politics. Most people in your age group, who pretend to be pure progressives, don’t care to show up to vote in school board elections, elections for city councils, elections for County supervisors, and elections for state legislatures. They don’t even show up to vote in mid-term Congressional elections. Guess who shows up? Most people in my age group who are predominantly right wing Republicans.

            Look, this is not just a question of being faithful to one party. Rather, it’s a question of being practical about which party is likely to advance our progressive interests. I am absolutely certain that this country is much better-off with President Obama and Vice President Biden than it would have been with a president John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin. I think the purity progressive who supported Ralph Nader, knowing that he had no chance in hell to win, had supported Al Gore, this country would not have gone through the painful disaster of the Bush years. I think if purity progressives have not abandoned Jimmy Carter to support a supposedly liberal Republican John Anderson, the country would have been spared of the regressive policies of Ronald Reagan.

            Young people like you need to understand that change in America happens very slowly, incrementally, and over long term period. The American political system is not like the fast food joints. It’s not set up to deliver instant gratification. Now and then the system may be able to deliver drastic changes, especially in times of crisis like the Civil War. But the nature of the American political system, with its separation of powers, and checks and balances, was designed by the founders to resist radical changes. People like you who feel disenfranchised because you don’t instantly get what you want are privileged purists. May you’ll need to talk to old black folks, and some old white folks too, about how long it took to undo the legally mandated racial discrimination called Jim Crow. I get a chuckle when I read so many so called progressives who think that it all happened
            instantaneously because LBJ was such a strong leader who exerted his will over Congress to make them pass the 1965 Civil Rights Act. Such short-sighted thinking totally misses the heroic struggle of Black people and their white allies that had been going for almost a century.

            Here is what I’ve learned in my 68 years on this earth, the only perfect leaders we know about are those who have been mythologized by the myth makers. If you don’t believe me go ahead and run for office and then let me know how well you perfectly implemented your agenda without having to compromise with other elected officials who hold opposing views.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            Heh…”young people like me”. I’m nearly 50 but thanks. Many of the people active locally are in the 45-55 age group. I’ve been doing this a long time.

            Here’s what you haven’t learned in those 68 years: the 2 party system you’ve been propping up through your continued participation is broken. There were opportunities to fix it but, people your age took a pass. Now it’s up to “young people like me”. Forgive me if I ignore advice from the architects of our current state of affairs. You’re too invested in the status quo to see anything but that.

          • spiderbucket

            Faithful ? Zealous is a better term.

    • Sean Richardson

      Clinton sure did a great job passing healthcare reform.

      • OptimisticallyCynical

        I’ll believe ACA does what it proposes if/when insurance premiums start declining from an average of $13k+ per year. That’s hardly “affordable”.

        • feloniousgrammar

          Didn’t get your refund?

          • jziglar

            Yeah he should talk to the millions of people who are benefitting from the law, and paying much lower premiums and saving money.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            You’re missing the point. This country spends an enormous amount of money on health care and insurance annually. ACA, if it’s to be considered a success, needs to address that. It’s great that millions of people now have access to health care. It’s not so great that the system that delivers and pays for that health care is over priced and dysfunctional.

          • feloniousgrammar

            Oh, and that hasn’t done a 180 yet! Shiver me fucking timbers.

          • nathkatun7

            Again you are definitely not keeping up with the latest news on ACA. The health care premiums are increasing at much slower rate than before. The working poor in the states that expanded medicaid are being covered for free. Many in the Middle class are receiving tax subsidies to help pay their premiums. And already, because of the savings built in the ACA, Medicare costs are also declining and the life of Medicare has been extended for 13 more years.

            We get your point. Nothing that President Obama does is ever good enough for you.

          • feloniousgrammar

            And Eric Holder’s DOJ is busting hospitals, nursing homes, and physicians for Medicaid/Medicare fraud like gangbusters. They’ve recovered many millions from thieving corporations to put back into the treasury. That’s cutting down on the costs of healthcare.

            http://searchjustice.usdoj.gov/search?q=medicaid%2C+medicare+fraud&spell=1&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=iso-8859-1&client=default_frontend&proxystylesheet=default_frontend&site=default_collection&access=p

          • nathkatun7

            Exactly! The U.S. media have for the most part deliberately blacked out all the incredible achievements of President Obama’s administration. Thankfully, some of us can still access news without having to depend on the so called mainstream media.

        • nathkatun7

          Where did you pull the 13K+ number? Care to share your source(s). By the way ACA has many purposes and quite a few of them have already been achieved. For example: Insurance companies can not deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions; no more life-time caps; young adults before 26 get to stay on their parents insurance; seniors are getting free preventive care; medicaid was expanded to cover the working poor; and insurance companies have to refund your premium if they don’t spend 80-85% for actual care. Once again you had to dig up one negative whose accuracy is questionable to cynically dismiss a historical policy achievement by President Obama.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            I was being conservative with that number. This is something I’ve followed since 2005. Kaiser Family Health reported in 2013 that average premiums had topped $16k for a family of 4….granted, that’s full coverage. An ACA Bronze plan runs about $10-11k but that has a lot of out of pocket expenses.

            The cost is not just “one negative”. That’s a huge problem. It’s no secret that health care spending was/is out of control in America. Those premium costs are part of the reason so many Americans went uninsured. As a percentage of GDP, this country spends almost twice what our European allies spend (17% vs 10-11%).

            It’s great that more people have access to health insurance but, unless costs are reigned in, it’s not sustainable. The high cost of health insurance drives down wages, raises tax burdens and hurts the economy. If ACA actually reduces costs, I’ll do hand springs and enshrine President Obama.

          • nathkatun7

            Please supply the link to your source(s).

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            The link is listed below but, really, to have had an educated opinion on ACA and health care reform in general….this stuff is basic knowledge:

            http://kff.org/report-section/2013-summary-of-findings/

            I’d encourage you to look deeper into the costs side of the equation. That piece is at the root of our health care issues but it won’t be addressed any time soon because most Americans are ignorant of just how much their health insurance costs. Why? Because most never see a bill or when they do it’s just something in the abstract.

            Through ACA, more people are getting access but that’s primarily because of subsidies. Premiums didn’t suddenly decrease. I appreciate Obama’s effort but true reform needed something radical. The pre-existing condition piece is nice but, for the most part, I view ACA as a bill that simply forces people into buying into a broken, dysfunctional system.

    • CL Nicholson

      The knee-jerk response to Obama criticism is that most of the criticism so itself so horrible knee-jerk I doubt his detractors have any cartilage left.

      Can one criticize Obama – sure, he’s not Jesus. The problem, that many liberals think he should be Jesus. Too many folks on the Left have, including you see Obama as a failed Messiah who didn’t create the New Heaven & New Earth.

      Obama pushed Healthcare reform, banking reform, gay rights has worked tireless to fix immigration policy (despite GOP shenanigans) and kept us out of war. But, to many on the Left – that isn’t enough.

      • feloniousgrammar

        And had Assad get rid of his arsenal of chemical weapons, and passed as much economic stimulus as he could, and has done wonders with the economy after entering office during the worst economic disaster in the history of economics and disasters.

        But, he’s such a lousy butler. He should be kissing the rosy white asses of every “liberal” who voted for him, he’s their n___r, and all they had to do was pull a lever or bubble in the slot by Obama’s name!

        • jziglar

          They also forget that the majority of tax cuts in the recovery act were middle class tax cuts, small business tax cuts, and cash payments to the working poor. They also forget to mention the executive actions on the environment, and the large increase in alternative energy production.
          But Obama is such a lousy guy.

      • OptimisticallyCynical

        That’s a straw man. I don’t see Obama as a failed Messiah because I never assumed he was a Messiah to begin with. Despite his rhetoric, I assumed Obama was just a run of the mill politician. Obama has been about as good as I expected him to be. The only issues that surprised me are the lack of openness and the killing of American citizens using drones. I thought, given the antics of the previous administration, Obama would be more open about his decision and policy making. The liberal use of drones has been extremely disappointing.

        I’m also a big 4th Amendment proponent but I know how well that sort of thing goes over on this site. There seems to be this weird obsession with Greenwald.

        • CL Nicholson

          First, lets stop pretending that Obama’s drone policy is targeting random dude X strolling the streets of Cairo. Anwar al-Awlaki
          was a terrorist organizer
          . Even his biggest supporters on the Left don’t deny that this guy incited and organized terrorists like the Underpants Bomber. Replace “Anwar al-Awlaki” with any random white person’s name and you sound like the nutcases from the 90’s screaming about how Waco was an attack by the tyrannical state, and not the government dealing with psychos militia men.

          Obama is a run of the mill politician? If he is, its would nice if more our politicians were as milquetoast.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            Anwar al-Awlaki was a citizen of the US and subject to our laws. I’m sure you guys have beaten this horse till well past its death so I won’t drag its corpse out again. The government targeted and killed a US citizen without first giving that citizen the due process the law dictates. You don’t have an argument (I’ve heard them all) that will make me OK with that and I don’t have an argument (I’m sure you’re heard them all) that will change your mind. It’s a case of differing expectations. All my arguments now happen at the ballot box.

          • nathkatun7

            I bet you if he successfully organized terrorists attack on America it’s President Obama who would be held responsible for not acting to prevent that. Anwar al-Awlaki decided to join the enemies of the United States. In my book, that makes him a traitor. I am glad he was taken out before he killed innocent people.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            Tell me how you know that he organized terrorist attacks.

          • nathkatun7

            Are you saying he was on on vacation in Yemen?

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            I’m saying I don’t know what he was doing in Yemen. Is publishing a web site full of over heated hatred towards the US a crime punishable by death?

        • http://www.thecosmicsurfer-rantingsofamadwoman.com/ Cosmic_Surfer

          Exactly

      • feloniousgrammar

        Every time I hear an emo talking lately I picture the kind of customers who would come into a mega-gourmet market I used to work at— it had a produce section the size of a football field and towering walls of food with a shit-load of different products and choices. The person I think of when I hear Emos these days wanted a certain bagel, we were out of it , and all the bagels were provided by an outside vendor, which the customer knew. So she walked up to me and started to whine, bitch, and moan. I said, “There are a dozen other kinds of bagels, and they’re all good”, while smiling, then turned my attention back to work because she would have stood there bitching as long as I let her. I just can’t encourage adults to act like babies by getting emotionally involved with silly, crestfallen dramas. I wouldn’t indulge a child of four or up in petty carping.

        Most Emo complaints in politics are about that compelling, but they think they’re being morally high-minded— more than most others— because they whine, and bitch, and moan while making no effort to deal with their own damned feelings, nor any effort to find out if maybe what they’re kvetching about isn’t what it seems on the paper thin surface they live on.

        I’m so glad I was raised working class, when the store is out of what I want, I find something else. I have never felt compelled to make a big deal out of such a little thing. Even if I were throwing a dinner party, I’d find a way to make it happen without feeling like the universe had let me, much less bitch about it to workers.

        Pish.

        • OptimisticallyCynical

          Cool story.

        • spiderbucket

          And then you got fired.

    • jziglar

      What agenda ? 3 Strikes law-Mandatory minimums ? Which by the way has had a negative impact on minority communities and the budget. Many states and the current administration are working to reverse these regressive laws.
      Clinton didn’t even achieve the majority of things he campaigned on in 1992. He failed to pass a small stimulus in his first term, failed to pass a middle class tax cut, failed to even get a vote on a compromise health insurance reform proposal, failed to end the ban on gays in the military, failed to overhaul the student loan program by cutting out the middle men- banks out of the program (which Obama achieved in the first term). Obama has achieved more than Clinton did in 8 years and it’s not even close, and that’s a fact.

      • nathkatun7

        Very well said!

      • feloniousgrammar

        He made life hard for single mothers, too. I never did like him much personally, but he is well-versed in a lot of issues and is not lame intellectually.

        Obama is much better as a person and as a President.

    • tommychristopher

      Hey, did you miss the eleventy criticisms I made of POTUS in the piece?

      • OptimisticallyCynical

        You mean the stuff after about 4-5 paragraphs regarding the unfair “dumbshittery” (I like that word!) being directed at POTUS? Sure, I read that. Was that the main point of your article? I don’t think it was. Unless I’m mistaken, the main point of the piece was a criticism of the criticism.

        • tommychristopher

          But that doesn’t make it a “knee-jerk” criticism of the criticism, it is substantive.

          • OptimisticallyCynical

            Well….I suppose if you consider semantics compelling then sure, it was substantive.

    • nathkatun7

      This is pure BS! Obama has accomplished more, despite the vicious, unyielding and relentless opposition from Republicans and the constant from the “holier than thou progressives.” If Clinton was so much better than Obama, how come he failed to pass a comprehensive health care reform? If Clinton was so much better than Obama how come he signed DOMA? If Clinton was so much better than Obama how he agreed to repeal regulations that had separated banking from investment companies? If Clinton was so much better than Obama how come Republicans shut down the government on his watch too?

      Here are some of the major accomplishments of President Obama in just the first two years when Congress was controlled by Democrats that debunks you snide remark: Obama couldn’t even manage a coherent agenda with Democrats in Congress.”

      1. A stimulus Bill which saved the country from going into a severe depression.
      2. Saving the Auto industry-one of the iconic American industry
      3. Wall Street reform that above all created a Consumer Protection Agency
      4. The Affordable Care Act, which in my judgement is a truly historical achievement.

      Please list Four major historical achievements of President Clinton in his first two years when bot houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats.

      • spiderbucket

        Obama cured my cancer and brought my dog back from the dead.

    • Loredana Dodson

      Not like president Obama ,no has been bashed like him ,never

  • mellowjohn

    just another chucktodd, albeit in a younger package.

  • Gunnut2600

    Tommy…you do a very good job of explaining exactly what has so disappointed me about President Obama. I’m not saying his a bad president. He has had to deal with one of the most dysfunctional Congresses in US history, his predecessor left him a smoking dumpster fire of an economy, and the world is a foreign policy mess.

    I got a brother that my parents keep letting back in the house. He has stolen from the family, nearly got me arrested (stole and wreck my car, told the cops he was me, and never said anything about it so I found out at the airport trying to re-enter the US).I see the bullshit coming from a mile away…and my parents keep doing the same goddamn thing, expecting a different result in my brother.

    Its the same fucking thing with the president. He knows the GOP is going to fuck him over. HE KNOWS IT! And yet we do the same goddamn thing over and over again until every piece of legislation is skewed so fucking far to the right that Reagan wouldn’t have had the balls to do it. At this point, I would have rather had Romney in the office because at least then, we would acknowledge when we were getting fucked.

  • undsoweiter

    If only Obama had been whiter, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
    Cable news broke politics, Ezra.

    • RocketRaccoon

      If Obama had been (100%) white we would be drawing up plans to chisel his face in to Mount Rushmore right now.

      Rescued the U.S economy
      Saved the American Auto industry
      Provided Healthcare to 30 million Americans
      Ended America’s 2 longest Wars
      Killed the most sought after terrorist in history
      Advanced LGBT civil rights more than any President ever
      etc etc

    • spiderbucket

      There will be an asterisk beside his name that will say something like, “** Failed – but only because of racism”

      • undsoweiter

        No, more like “*Even racist assholes couldn’t stop him from succeeding*”

        • spiderbucket

          You mean, Hamas ?

          • undsoweiter

            That’s interesting. The article doesn’t mention Hamas, I didn’t mention Hamas, yet you bring up Hamas.
            Are you on the wrong thread, or have you had a stroke?

  • Charles Davis

    u know, there is a genuine problem with young men in politics nowadays. if you pay careful attention, ezra always seem to have this narcissistic, smart ass look on his face – like, every word out of his mouth is the gospel of jesus christ. it’s outrageous. and this is the same thing with jeremy scahill, chuck todd and many others. they’ve always got this arrogant smirk on their faces when they talk, like they’re the messiahs of political commentary. get the hell outta here, man! it bugs me. and i used to have a lot of respect for ezra, but he’s really beginning to come off like a huge douchebag now.

    • Otto66

      He reminds me more of the the orifice that you use a douchbag to clean.

    • feloniousgrammar

      And Matthew Iglesias— he and Ezra Klein were supposed to be flagship Progressives; but Iglesias degenerated rather quickly into the minutiae of pricing for parking and not licensing barbers so he could get a cheap haircut for what little hair he has and Klein is a prima donna.

      The left is in need of some earthy working liberals at the helm of our media.

      • ranger11

        Yeah, enough with all the airy wonky shit. Since when did this become the model of modern liberalism?

        • feloniousgrammar

          Is this serious or facetious. I can’t tell.

          • ranger11

            Actually, serious.

    • caribbeanobserver

      The problem is that all these wanna -be’s are trying to one-up each other on the intellectual waffling chart and get attention from the beltway. Its all a game between them to see who could better whom with the more indignant articles and supposedly superior sounding ‘thoughts’. In fact, it really boils down to survival in today’s world with clicks, tricks and just generally being dicks!

  • cat48

    Yes, best part of the show was the sound loss! It’s more like a trend lately on Msnbc on the Cycle & Alex Wagner too. Wankers!

  • Marcus Shelton

    Republicans are basically you mentally challenged nephew johnny who everytime he comes over wrecks your house and poisons your cat, but he is family and he’s mentally challenged after all so cut him some slack. He was dealt a bad card.

    • shindigg

      So you agree that the “liberal media” LMAO really just “protects and enables” the Republicans…for some reason?

  • D_C_Wilson

    One of the weird but popular memes among our Very Serious Washington Villagers is that democrats are always responsible and republicans are never responsible for anything. If republicans are intransigent it’s because democrats failed to appease them. If republicans fail to pass even the most basic of bills necessary to keep the government functioning, it’s because democrats failed to be the adults in the room and force republicans to eat their vegetables. And if republicans run amok and get us involved in two wars and wreck the economy, it’s because the democrats went along with the GOP’s plans.

    • feloniousgrammar

      Yeah, it’s like they never leave their house politically. Are they paying attention to how government is supposed to work and the absolutely necessary things that need to be done and are not getting done because the party of loons has gone completely cynical, extremist, and greedy? Klein is very much a white manz watching out for himself.

      • shindigg

        Funny I was thinking the same thing trying to watch him before I had to shut it off because of how stupid I was finding his bashing of the Democrats for the Republicons’ relentless, SHAMELESS, completely odd, DESPERATE and RECKLESS demented behavior. When I put the show back on near the end of it, I found it interesting how Klein said his own name but didn’t say he was in for Chris Hayes at the end. (He did say he was in or Hayes at the beginning of he show but not at he end, when he should have said it again…whose show it was that he was filling in on…)

      • Spellblade

        Klein has sadly drunken the kool aid and is trying to ingratiate himself as a Very Serious Person. Don’t blame Republicans for anything if you can’t blame the Democrats too, bi-partisanship that isn’t really, poorly defined ‘centrism’, inane nostalgia for the 1970s-80s, the whole nine yards.

        Such a waste of talent.