Michael Gerson: The most ambitiously progressive in American history: Going for his legacy

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  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    June 7, 2014 6:39 p.m.

    Easily the worst president in my lifetime. So Carter has finally been beaten. He can't do domestic policy, he can't do foreign policy, he can't even try to work with congress because they might make him do something that may require a little bit of cooperation by him. Hopefully in a few months when the Republicans take both houses of Congress, they won't screw things up.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 6, 2014 6:07 p.m.

    I guess I don't understand why you are OK with following a party that you admit "It's correct that Republicans spend a lot and talk a lot about the deficit, but do nothing about it." So why are such such a big supporter of the GOP? I know that while i'm most definitly a liberal, I haven't voted for a Democrat in the last 3 elections, or about 30% of my voting history, because the vision the Democrats present isn't what they actually do. I mean, if you and i agree that the GOP is a lot of talk, and not a lot of action, why vote for them? I'm not saying vote for the Green Party(that's more my style) But if that's really what you think, why don't you vote for Constitution Party or Libertarian Party candidates? At least those guys are more in line with your world view, and you'd be giving someone who at least doesn't have a track record of being full of it your vote.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 6, 2014 1:55 p.m.

    Hey SC Fantasy -

    "As a member of the GOP I'll give you a vision."

    But as a member of the GOP, your "vision" is obscured by all lies that circulate within the GOP.

    Thus, you're vision is incapable of seeing reality.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 6, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    @ SCfan, every hear of the permanent filibuster the Republicans have in the Senate? Unprecedented. And even on bills (like the recent energy bill) that the Republicans agree with, they still won't let it move. So spare me about your Harry Reid whining.

    A you distort the debt issue. After taking a surplus budget and quickly destroying it, in part due to wars, a drug plan, unfunded tax cuts, etc., the Republicans have no room to talk. They took a good economy and a budget surplus and crushed it, leaving us in the worst recession since the Great Depression. It was sop bad that in the campaign of 2008, no one was sure if we would make it. That mess was handed to the winner of the election, and we have clawed our way back. I'll take reality over the empty, two-faced rhetoric handed out by the Republicans. They talk a good game, but the truth is exactly the opposite.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 6, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    To understand what a REAL "Conservative" is... you would have to be alive long enough to remember back past Bush. He was a "Republican"... but he was NOT a "Conservative". He was a "Neocon" (Google it).


    One thing young people need to learn as early in their life as possible is... that dispite what the politico-partisans and the talking heads on the news tell you... All Republicans are NOT "Conservative". And all Democrats are NOT "Liberal".

    Once you can see past the partisan stereotypes... and see people for what they actually are (not their party-stereotype)... you will be seeing life more clearly... and with more "reality" (as I can tell from your post that you really want to get in touch with "reality").


    It's correct that Republicans spend a lot and talk a lot about the deficit, but do nothing about it. You would have to get a little more radical... say a Tea Party person, or a REAL "Conservative" to find someone who really cares about the deficit and the future of this country (past the next election).

    But at least the GOP includes it in their vision...

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 6, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    Ummm, Harry Reid is the Senate majority leader. He has nothing to do with bills being brought up in the House. If you have a problem with what bills are brought up for vote in the house you need to direct your complaints to John Boehner(R-Ohio)

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 6, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    But what about the reality? I'm not an old guy, so I can't speak to living during the Regan or Nixon administrations, but from what i've seen in the last 15-20 years(when I was acutally old enough to follow politics) The GOP's vision is dramatically different than reality. Ya, they want a strong military, that's why GWB sent troops to Iraq with inadequate body armor and nothing to protect from IED's, and why Bush also had a similar VA scandal to the current one. They say they are fiscally responsible, but all i've seen is them spending more than we make,running up the deficit, and not having the guts to cut programs(sure they'll talk, but they wont' cut) or raise taxes. Ya, they are anti abortion, but what have they done except keep passing laws that the SCOTUS finds unconstitutional, if they were really serious, why no constitutional amendment? Sure you might like the vision, but you have to admit the vision doesn't line up with what they actually do.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 6, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    I'm not a real GOP fan... but I for sure know I like the Vision they have better than the DNC's vision (of increased taxes, debt, and fewer jobs because they have to pander to the radical environmentalist voters). I also like their vision on Abortion. I kinda like their vision on welfare reform and immigration. I for sure like their vision of keeping our healthcare privatized (I don't like the VA model for everybody OR the Single-government-payer model). I also like their vision that we need a strong military (to preserve our liberty from those who hate us).

    I kinda like the vision the GOP has.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    June 6, 2014 9:51 a.m.


    As a member of the GOP I'll give you a vision. How about a vision of that 17.5 trillion dollar debt becoming a 10 trillion dollar debt instead of what will likely be a 20 trillion dollar debt by the end of the Obama years. Now that's something to envision!

    As for the GOP not doing anything to move things forward. Ever heard of Harry Reid? That is why nothing gets past the House. And you should be glad, because if I understand your politics correctly, you don't want what Republicans want. Just be glad for the stalemate right now and hope that the Democrats can hold onto some power in the next two elections. Otherwise you will be on the side we Republicans were after 2008 elections.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 6, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    Roland Kayser,
    Of course it's a "silly piece"... because it's about your hero...

    If it were pointing out Bush's weaknesses, on the other hand, you would not think it was silly, and totally support it. That's the problem. The duplicity...


    Who called Obama, the most liberal, most progressive, most socialist, etc? I went back and re-read the article and didn't see it. We're discussing the article aren't we? Or are we just re-attacking FoxNews? That seems to be the defense for EVERYTHING (blame Fox).

    I know some people who never watch FoxNews, and they agree that Obama has been ambiguous at times.... and he's working on his legacy now.


    Obama's not perfect. We can't blame that on FoxNews.

    It's not fair... but some people expect the President to be perfect (not only Obama.. it happened with Bush too). And yes... that is silly. But not only when it happens to Obama... also when it happens to Bush and others... Be consistent.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    Obama's legacy is mixed. At times he seems to be the mouthpiece for Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright of the loco left. Universal and affordable health care was his goal and will be his greatest accomplishment if the kinks can be ironed out. He certainly is the coolest president. His well intentioned focus on the environment has mixed results. The emphasis on renewable energy is favorable, but the crony capitalism of Solyndra and other fiascos is inexcusable. His promise of transparency/honesty was not sincere and his handling of the IRS, NSA, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the ACA roll out and now the VA have left an indelible scar on his administration. In 2017 he can go on the lecture circuit and become a multimillionaire like the Clintons and Al Gore.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 6, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    Roland Kayser took the words out of my mouth. The premise of this op-ed piece is ludicrous. More right wing exageration. More gratuitous Obama bashing, still trying to destroy the President. It is getting downright pathetic. The right wing should focus on 2016 rather than keep trying to destroy a President mearing the end of his tenure. Can't we have some rest from the Obama bashing? It's not like the GOP and conservatives have either presented a vision or done a single thing to move things forward or address the issues we face. Not a darn thing.

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    It always puzzles and disappoints me that most analyses of what the President or other lawmakers do usually comes down to how it will affect re-election. Mr. Gerson might better serve us readers if he were more apt to discuss Obama's actions in terms of good or bad policy instead of legacy vs. party. Honestly, I don't really care which party wins or loses. I just want what is best for our country.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 6, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    Roland -

    "This is a silly piece. FDR and LBJ were far more progressive than Obama."

    What about TR? He was about as Progressive as they come, and he was a Republican.

    " . . . Fox News drivel . . ."

    Yeah, basically FOX "NEWS" and "Conservative" so-called pundits are all tapped into the Great Right Wing Hive Mind, which is itself controlled by Reactionary Plutocrats like Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    June 6, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    Obama actually said he "didn't want to be President without the Senate"? I say, YIPPEEEEEEEEEEE. If the Senate and House do go/stay Republican maybe Obama can do his party some good and step aside and let Biden be the incumbent in 2016. The incumbent President always has a much better chance to get re-elected. And it's obvious that since 2010 election, Obama has not had much ambition anyway. He, like many Democrats believed the liberal press clippings that said the Republican Party was essentially dead, and now only a "regional party" at best. The Democrats believed that they would rule from 2008 to infinity. Glad they overplayed that hand, because now it looks like they may be the ones on the outside looking in.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    June 6, 2014 6:34 a.m.

    George W. Bus, under Vice President Dick Cheney's guidance, encouraged an imperial presidency answerable to no one. Working with a complacent congress, Bush gutted the constitutional checks and balances that are supposed to keep any part of the government from growing too powerful or too corrupt. In the name of an endless war against an undefined enemy, he canceled our most fundamental constitutional rights and the right to be free from unreasonable government spying.

    Bush had the opportunity to be a great president. After 9/11, the nation was as united as it had been since Pearl Harbor and he could have used it to turn around the nation's politics, security and economy. Instead of uniting us, he divided us politically, financially and morally.

    President Obama's legacy will be remembered as the President who kept a nation from crashing.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2014 12:45 a.m.

    Consider how Obama probably views the matter of climate warming and his legacy. He thinks if he doesn't act now to curb CO2 emissions and if a Republican is elected to the presidency in 2016, there is the possibility of a 10 year delay in doing anything about global warming, as no Republican president will act (though the damage from warming will likely be coming obvious around 2020). We are nearing the point of no return on doing something about climate warming.

    If Obama doesn't act in the face of this threat his legacy will not exist. He knows this and he as therefore acted.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 6, 2014 12:07 a.m.

    This is a silly piece. FDR and LBJ were far more progressive than Obama. Heck, even Richard Nixon was more progressive than Obama. All the arguments about Obama being the most liberal, most progressive, most socialist, etc, are all Fox News drivel, nothing more.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 5, 2014 8:34 p.m.

    The president has tried mightily to get even a modicum of cooperation to get something done for the nation. It looks like he's coming to realise he's just going to have to get out there and do it without cooperation from republicans at any level, such is their steadfast spite. My wish is that the president had come to this conclusion sooner.