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04:00 PM on 12/10/2008
To answer the question in the title of this post: Because they've already done it so many times, it's become automatic for them.
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jeffrey678
You don't happen to make it. You make it happen.
03:55 PM on 12/10/2008
The Democrats have to start acting like a majority party and lead or they will soon be a minority party again.
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scnilajo6
04:04 PM on 12/10/2008
Agreed. They are "afraid". They don't get the fact that one of the most intelligent leaders we have ever, ever had...."has their back"
03:31 PM on 12/10/2008
The only real weak point of the argument, is referencing Bush's approval ratings, while talking about Congress. Congress has lower ratings than he does, so why bring it up?
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Mitchell Bard
03:50 PM on 12/10/2008
SinisterK9, it is relevant in two ways. First, we're not talking about the political fallout of the president taking on Congress. He's done. The question is of the political risk of Congress taking on the president. If the president was popular, it would be risky. Since he is not popular at record levels, there is no risk to Congress. They should fight him. He's weak. Second, most of the members of the next Congress (all of the House and about a third of the Senate) were elected in November. So, regardless of the approval rating, these members of Congress has been sent to Washington by the voters, as opposed to the president, who, based on his approval rating, has little support for his positions.
04:40 PM on 12/10/2008
It's the despised vs the revolting in a battle for the future.
05:25 PM on 12/10/2008
They should fight him if they feel it is their ethical obligation based on the subject at hand. They should not fight him simply to fight him, like so many politicians from both sides of the isle do.

Congress was sent to Washington by voters. Agreed. The President was also sent there by voters. Current approval ratings of Congress and Bush are both in the toilet, so no one can claim a moral high ground on either side. People in general don't like either one of them (Congress or Bush).
03:26 PM on 12/10/2008
Well said. One would not expect the Dem's to suddenly get a backbone though, would one?
03:16 PM on 12/10/2008
I gave up on the democratic leadership when they refused to impeach bush. I hope that at least reid can be replaced as the leader of the senate although it would be great to also see pelosi go. Now that is change I could believe in!!
03:13 PM on 12/10/2008
I am tired of trying to get along with the sleaziest of people. Why is the sentiment that some mystical middle wants to cater to the moronic 29%?

The Democratic Party is just a joke of capitulation. What is the deal? They are constantly getting dealt four aces but fold because someone may have a Royal Flush. It is blatant stupidity and continual cowardice.

Our country needs RADICAL change or in 50 years we won't be a country at all.

I continually wonder if America is just too stupid and corrupt to save.
02:57 PM on 12/10/2008
Deal:

1) Build new technology cars that meet green standards and largely reduce dependence of foreign oil
2) Do not take the taxpayer bailout and then outsource the damn jobs
3) Limit compensation, no bonuses, perks, B/S until the industry is sound
4) Major Oversight

or NO DEAL
03:10 PM on 12/10/2008
Ford said no deal and I respect them more for it.

Not everyone wants a green car, they want a car that looks cool at a good price. Compare the Nissan or Toyota with anything the Big 3 has.
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Mitchell Bard
03:52 PM on 12/10/2008
VikingQuest, what people want is not the only question here. Whether people want cars with low gas mileage or not, the country cannot afford (economically, environmentally, or foreign policy-wise) to let people drive gas guzzlers anymore. Things have to change. If Detroit doesn't get that (and they don't seem to), they shouldn't get a penny of taxpayer dollars.
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Mitchell Bard
03:10 PM on 12/10/2008
Thanks for the comment, vstar. The good thing about your plan is that the Republicans would be forced to reveal their true beliefs and vote against it without being able to hide behind viability statements like McConnell's. So even though it wouldn't pass, it put the Democrats in a stronger position to make a good deal, either now or in January.
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epotruchyeahright
03:55 PM on 12/10/2008
The thing about the auto industry being forced to build the next generation of green cars is that, under current technology and the high cost of union labor in the U.S., it's a losing financial strategy for the companies. Toyota admitted that it doesn't yet make much money on their very popular Prius. Honda doesn't do that well either on hybrids, and their fuel cell car is lease-only because it costs too much to make so it would never sell.

The real solution here is not only to beat the auto makers into submission. The workers who build these cars must understand that in the global marketplace, they are outliers in terms of their compensation and benefits packages. I pay $6,700 a year in premiums for my family's health insurance in addition to what my employer pays. The UAW members I know pay nothing, and they get something like $38/hr. in pay. Sorry, but $80,000 a year for a worker with a limited skill set and a marginal education is just about ridiculous
07:05 PM on 12/10/2008
True republicans should vote against this without looking at it, just like they should have voted against the bank bailout bill. We are supporting bad business models with poor leadership using borrowed money, I am madder at my republican leaders than I am at the democrats. I expect this from democrats.
02:43 PM on 12/10/2008
Mr. Bard,

I respectfully disagree with many of your points. It's not about the "big 3's" willingness or lack of willingness to change. Detroit will make the cars that consumers want to buy. It's really very simple, if consumers were clamoring for a different type of vehicle (i.e. "green") then Detroit would be tripping over themselves to build them.

The simple fact is that while more energy efficient cars maybe on their way at some point they are not going to be the main product for some time. This is due to two basic reasons. 1. Consumers are not buying them at a level that makes it profitable (profit allows for hiring). 2. The cost to retool their plants for a different product line would be something that they cannot even begin to contemplate at this time.

They should be diverting the money from the "green subsidy" if they are going to give them anything. What good does it do to have 25billion sitting around to build "green" cars if the companies go bankrupt before they can even build them.
02:54 PM on 12/10/2008
We Should and Obama is planning to, invest trillions in public works and green energy,

but we also need to keep the Big three going and employing, till the economy recovers.
03:02 PM on 12/10/2008
Very simple minded of you . . . GM was losing boatloads of cash long before.

The myth of saving jobs with a bailout makes no sense, they are just delaying the inevitable.
02:55 PM on 12/10/2008
Oh, I25B$ auto bailout is cheaper than unemployment for 3M people and a Whole lot more productive than Stupid Bankers Hoover Bailouts!
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sunny123
so.....it's empty
02:40 PM on 12/10/2008
I think congress just wanted to get the bill passed for the car makers and knew Shrub would hold things up. Sometimes you have to take a hit to be able to hit back later. As long as Shrub is president, he can and will do whatever he can to make people think he is a man instead of a mouse. We don't have time to wait for Obama to be inaugerated, we must do something rather quickly. Shrub is leaving enough of a mess for Obama to clean up, we don't need more.
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Mitchell Bard
02:57 PM on 12/10/2008
But, sunny123, the "compromise" doesn't help at all. It makes things worse. When you say "get the bill passed," what if it's a bad bill? Why should it be passed?

The Democrats have to start acting like they are in charge, because ni 41 days they will be.
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starlady7
02:58 PM on 12/10/2008
Amen. Obama will change the emissions requirement and car czar, etc. later. Bush would block any aid otherwise. What may appear as political weakness may just be political saavy...looking at the political reality, knowing they have more crafty moves in 6wks!
02:31 PM on 12/10/2008
Ried Pelosi and the DLC "weak", "Hoover" democratic leadership.

Fortunaly Obama is looking to FDR for the correct responce to this crisis.

About The democrats half suck. But the entire GOP sucks evil.

So I listen and contribute to "Kucinich democrats".

Go to his his web site in these crisis, and everything, has has been ahead of the curve.

http://kucinich.us/index.php
Kucinich voted against the banker bailout, is for the auto companies.

By reading and contributing to Kucinich, we shift power to his ideas.

Ideas, Obama will likely pick up and run with.

This fight has just begun.
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JustSteve
02:29 PM on 12/10/2008
I know you get this, but just in case:

While the Democrats won a huge victory in November, none of that is in place right now. The Dems have basically a dead heat in the Senate, and a majority but not big enough to single-handedly override a veto. And Bush has made it clear he will veto this bill if it doesn't go mostly his way.

So, they've decided to meet him half way. He gets the money coming out of the fuel efficiency fund, but the Congress has added things he's not thrilled with -- but this is a bill that he will sign, and that most likely the Congress can get passed.

Let Congress get this to the next administration for a longer term plan. One that can be developed by a stronger Congress and a President who wants to get things done.
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PATina
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
02:42 PM on 12/10/2008
While that may be true... how come the Republican congress under President Clinton... who didn't have a "super majority" get so many of their proposals passed and signed into law????

I'm sorry... but that's just an excuse. Force Bush to actually veto a bill (instead of giving in to his threats).... Force the Senate Republicans to actually filibuster a bill (instead of giving in to their threats)... then you can say... we tried. But the way the Dems are doing it (and have been)... they don't even try to fight. They wilt at the first sign of opposition... and then try to blame the other side. PROVE that the other side is to blame by forcing them to act contrary to what the people want.
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starlady7
03:02 PM on 12/10/2008
Tme is a factor here. And there is the chance that once Bush vetoes the bill, he won't revist the issue and that in itself would defeat our purpose!
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Mitchell Bard
02:55 PM on 12/10/2008
JustSteve, yes, I know it's a razor-thin margin now. But that in no way absolves the Democrats. They have an option. It's standing firm for what is right, and waiting out Bush's last 41 days.

This is no compromise. The agreement is bad for the UAW, it's bad for the companies (since they will be in equally bad shape in March), and, most of all, bad for the American people. They should not have accepted a crappy deal. And they should have put a good deal to a vote and let the Republicans go on the record as opposing it.

Bottom line is that the Democrats doubly lost here. They did the wrong thing for the country and they showed bad political judgment.
02:25 PM on 12/10/2008
I know that Ralph Nader is not popular on the liberal blogs, but the man is spot on in describing the Dems as just a part of the Corporatist Party of America. The Repubs have gotten just about everything that they have wanted with support from the Dem leadership,sic: redistribution of wealth to the wealthiest, continual war for the profiteers, erosion of the middle and working classes, billions of dollars to the Wall Street thieves who helped to destroy the economy and no accountability for those guilty of crimes against humanity! Remember that Congress's approval ratings are much lower than Bush's. Weakness of leadership is not a phrase that I would use to describe the present situation, how about betrayal of the American people!
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Mitchell Bard
02:53 PM on 12/10/2008
I respectfully disagree, celticjag. Being weak and ineffectual is not the same thing as being duplicitious. It's not the Dems actively seek the same goals as the Republicans, it's that in situations like this one, they don't have the political savvy and backbone to fight for what they stand for.

It's very, very easy for blowhards like Nader to make the "they're all the same" argument. But there are too many tangible differences between the parties to make the claim stick. Put it this way, if Gore had won in 2000 (calm down, I mean if he actually was allowed to ascend to the presidency), there would have been no war in Iraq.
03:44 PM on 12/10/2008
First off, you can only speculate as to how Gore would have governed if elected. Reviewing how Iraq was treated under the Clinton adm. raises some doubts. I think we are mincing words concerning the Dems, as the results would not be very different. Lastly. I am not a Nader acolyte, but I must take exception to you calling him a blowhard. It would be nice if pointed out examples of his blowhardiness, instead of calling him a name. I do know that he is responsible for the safety programs in the auto industry and for many programs affecting the U.S. consumer, which is more than can be said of most people.
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Yarrr
02:23 PM on 12/10/2008
What the HELL is wrong with these spineless democrats. For God's sake. We. Are. The. Majority. Party.
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William1950
everything I say could be wrong.
02:29 PM on 12/10/2008
there is no real difference between democrats and republicans... they are all bought and sold at the highest price and none of them really give the slightest damn about the people they are supposed to be representing...
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Mitchell Bard
03:02 PM on 12/10/2008
William1950, that just isn't true. If Gore won, there would have been no war in Iraq. If Gore won, we wouldn't have two new young Supreme Court justices with no respect for the rights of Americans. If Gore won, we would have had competent people at FEMA to handle Katrina. I could go on for ten more examples without blinking. It's lazy and dangeruos to make the "they're all the same argument."
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Mitchell Bard
02:43 PM on 12/10/2008
Yarrr, it seems as if the Democrats in Congress just can't seem to grasp that, right?
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qofdisks
02:23 PM on 12/10/2008
Hey!
Hello!
Emissions are toxic and cause health problems. What about the cost of all those asthmatic children? Respiratory problems cost money too. Not being able to go outside has health costs from overweight co-morbidity. Our health is the price we pay by not evolving our transport and industry to be cleaner. This is the right thing to do.

I think that Bush requiring the car industry to eat it's own seed corn to be used for evolution is a despicable catch 22. How our Democratic congress can allow this illogical outcome is incredible.
When will righteousness take president?
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William1950
everything I say could be wrong.
02:19 PM on 12/10/2008
I have just about changed my mind and almost think we should let the big 3 go down.... until the American people get mad enough to really stand together and DEMAND that our government start representing us or we will throw them out on the street nothing will change. Except more squeezing of the middle class...