“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, April 24, 2009 moves on the attack. Americans love it.

Poll: Public thinks highly of Obama

By Susan Page, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — His opening months in the Oval Office have fortified Barack Obama's standing with the American public, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, giving him political capital for battles ahead.
As his 100th day as president approaches next Wednesday, the survey shows Obama has not only maintained robust approval ratings but also bolstered the sense that he is a strong and decisive leader who can manage the government effectively during a time of economic crisis.

"A lot of things were ignored over the last eight years, and I think it's all coming home to roost," says Benjamin Bleadon, 51, an insurance broker from Skokie, Ill., who was among those surveyed. "He has given the perception that he understands the issues and that he has taken control … and we'll just have to wait and see if it works."


  1. For the average citizen in Turkey, last week’s identity and feeling of belonging debate, stirred up by a speech delivered by Gen. İlker Başbuğ, the chief of general staff, did not matter much, but academics and pundits rushed to offer their take on what the general meant and what the possible implications for the future of democracy in Turkey are.


    The controversy over defining citizens has its roots in the Turkish Constitution and all its amendments. Article 88 of the first Constitution, adopted in 1924, stated: "Irrespective of religion or race, all are called ’Turks’ with respect to citizenship."


    Baskın Oran and İbrahim Kaboğlu, two professors who were asked to work for the Committee on Human Rights established by the Office of the Prime Minister in 2004, proposed the "Türkiyeli" solution to define the supra identity while allowing sub-identities in various forms, in a report on identity questions in Turkey. They became the subject of a smear campaign and were taken to court and prosecuted for insulting Turkishness, only to be found not guilty in 2008.
    General's Remark

  2. Despite last week's release of the Bush legal memos to pacify critics on the left and personally paying his respects in a visit to the CIA on Monday, Obama has not avoided a highly partisan political firestorm on the issue, and it shows no sign of abating.

    "The White House's clear preference for turning the page is no longer sustainable," said Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning Washington think tank. "The more we learn, the more troubling it gets."

    Although the Democratic majority has taken matters into its own hands, there are other key probes underway, including a Justice Department ethics investigation of the lawyers who wrote the declassified memos, and an internal CIA probe led by former Senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire.
    Torture Issue

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  4. If it really matters to you, bob, move to Ohio, or Colorado.

    Somewhere your vote for Senate would swing the deal.

    Rasmussen has Obama at 55% and +11%.

    The others have him all over 60%.
    The RCP average has him over 60%

    The popular vote gave him a victory, by a landslide, in the Electoral College.

    If the GOP does not make gains in the Senate, in 2010, Obama will be in for the duration.
    PA, FL, SC those are the battle gtounds, if one wants to do battle.

    Will bashing Obama save Specter, or guarentee Crist.

    Is Mr Crist a "real" Republican, anyway? Or just another specter of McCain?

    Does it really matter if they are specters?

    Remember, in the weeks ahead, that Team43 got the Bush Tax Cuts passed using the Reconciliation Process, removing the need for a closure vote in the Senate.

    Took a bare majority, not 60 votes, to pass it. Just as the Dems are planning on moving the Health Care package through.

    A Parliamentarians device to bypass obstructionists.

    Learn it, live it, love it.

  5. heh, I'm going to write up an entry on bickering based on the writings of Dr. Johnson.

    bicker, bicher,


    What Rasmussan seems to show is a hardening and polarizing of the camps.

    It's interesting to wonder what will happen if we have an attack. 9/11 sent George through the roof. We've only got one CIC to rally around.

    With Obama though it might not be so much. A good half the country might well blame him for the attack.

  6. Why do you think the stimulus package pours $1.1 billion into medical "comparative effectiveness research"? It is the perfect setup for rationing. Once you establish what is "best practice" for expensive operations, medical tests and aggressive therapies, you've laid the premise for funding some and denying others.

    It is estimated that a third to a half of one's lifetime health costs are consumed in the last six months of life. Accordingly, Britain's National Health Service can deny treatments it deems not cost-effective -- and if you're old and infirm, the cost-effectiveness of treating you plummets. In Canada, they ration by queuing. You can wait forever for so-called elective procedures like hip replacements.

    Rationing is not quite as alien to America as we think. We already ration kidneys and hearts for transplant according to survivability criteria as well as by queuing. A nationalized health insurance system would ration everything from MRIs to intensive care by a myriad of similar criteria.

    The more acute thinkers on the left can see rationing coming, provoking Slate blogger Mickey Kaus to warn of the political danger. "Isn't it an epic mistake to try to sell Democratic health care reform on this basis? Possible sales pitch: 'Our plan will deny you unnecessary treatments!' ... Is that really why the middle class will sign on to a revolutionary multitrillion-dollar shift in spending -- so the government can decide their life or health 'is not worth the price'?

    Charles Krauthammer

  7. The "Right" always seems to want to blame the victim, as long as that's not themselves, bob.

    40,000 US citizens have died due to the open border to the south, is that the event that sealed GW Bush's Legacy?

    Or one that was overlooked, because it was not a single photogenic episode?

    Bettin' on disaster, is, I'm sorry to say, a disaster of a plan.

  8. The idea that the detainees photos cannot be released, because it would violate the Geneva Conventions, but that those same detainees can then be imprisoned outside of the bounds of those Conventions, is oxymoronic.

    Typical of Team43's use of situational ethics.

  9. Everybody blames the victum a lot, if you like the perp.

    40,000 US citizens have died due to the open border to the southCan't bicker with that. I'd bet an Amero more will die for the same reason with Obama.

    g'nite, having a hard time getting to sleep again.

  10. April Madness: Can GOP Win Back the House in 2010?

    By Stuart Rothenberg.

    The problem for Republicans is that they aren't yet in the position - and won't be in one by November of next year - to run on a pure message of change, or on pent-up demand for change.

    Waves are built on dissatisfaction and frustration, and there is little in national survey data that suggest most voters are upset with President Barack Obama's performance or the performance of his party.

    Obama's job approval generally falls between 55 percent and 63 percent, and his personal favorable numbers are as strong or slightly better. The trend line on the right direction/wrong track question shows a growing optimism, as do attitudes about the direction of the economy.

    A recent Pew Research Center poll found two out of three Americans saying that they were optimistic "that Barack Obama's policies will improve economic conditions in the country."

    All of these numbers show a public that is more upbeat than it was before the last election, and optimism produces status quo elections, not an electorate demanding change.

    The uptick in mood, combined with the public's still-vivid memory of the disappointing Bush years, makes it almost impossible for Republicans to deliver a change argument successfully. GOP candidates and strategists will have to wait for at least another election cycle before they can hope that a change message will resonate with voters.

    Of course, there are millions of Americans who are unhappy with Obama's agenda and with the direction of the country. But those people have never liked Obama, and more importantly, they don't come close to constituting a majority of Americans.

    Most Americans - even many of those who are still worried and pessimistic - are willing to give Obama more time and to give him the benefit of the doubt

  11. The ultimate decision is left up to the Senate parliamentarian, whose rulings are unpredictable. Under George W. Bush, Republicans managed to ram tax cuts, oil drilling, trade authority, and much else through reconciliation. But they were as often disappointed:

    The GOP leaders fired two successive Senate parliamentarians whose Byrd rule rulings angered them

  12. But the reconciliation process has been used for plenty that did not reduce deficits. Both of President Bush's tax-cut plans traveled through the process. And the very senators who speak reverentially of the filibuster now, voted for reconciliation then. Judd Gregg, in fact, voted for reconciliation every time it was used in the Bush era.

    And even if reconciliation had only ever been used to cut the deficit, an observer might wonder what renders deficit reduction so much more pressing than, say, ending the punishing human cost of the health-care crisis, or saving the planet from catastrophic climate change. Why should cutting programs be exempt from the Senate rules but not saving lives?

  13. Heard on the 'Morning Joe' that the Taliban are pulling out of Buner. Headin' home to Swat.

    Soft Power success!!!