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Week of 11.6.09

Interview: David Sirota

What do Tuesday's election results say about America's future?

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The Weekly Q
Only one year after a historic election rerouted the course of America's political culture, do the 2009 election results show momentum swinging in the opposite direction?

This week, NOW's David Brancaccio talks to political author and columnist David Sirota about populist anger, the Obama administration's successes and failures, and how this week's election results foreshadow the state of politics in 2010.

In the News

The Daily Beast: The Obama Report Card

Web Features

Book Excerpt: "The Uprising" by David Sirota

Video of David Sirota previously on NOW: Trivializing Corruption
and The Power of Populism
The Economist: American elections —The shine coming off

The New York Times: Energized G.O.P. Looking to Avoid an Intraparty Feud

The New York Times: Democrats to Use Election to Push Agenda in Congress

Politico: 'We got walloped'

Viewer Comments

Commenter: Roxanna marinak
This was an excellent interview and absolutely nails what people are unhappy about in this country.

Congress cares more about their continued re election rather than what is best for the people.. Obama has greatly disappointed many who supported him for the progressive change, which we have not seen.

There lacks real political courage in Congress because it gives into self-interest.

Commenter: Michael J. Zehe
This is more a question than a comment: I would like to have someone tell me why in so many states there is only one or two companies that offer health insurance? The major rational for the public option is that the US Government will provide competition to those companies that have monopolies or near-monopolies in so many states (a number I heard somewhere was 33 states out of 50). It seems to me that if there is money to be made, other insurance companies will step in and try to cash in. I watch all the Sunday morning talk shows and the Newshour and NOW and I am astounded that nobody has ever asked this question. I heard Robert Gibbs tell G. Stephanopoulus that in his home state everybody has got to buy their insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but GS didn't ask this obvious question. Am I missing something?

Commenter: george grepaly
Change, thats what has been the initial message of the democratic campagne and President Obama has keept that promise,THE RESULTS OF THE PAST ELLECTIONS HAS BEEN THE PRODUCT OF CHANGE AND IT IS EVIDENT that VOTERS are using the One & Only tool left in theire tool-box ..........

Commenter: Andrea Meier
Mr. Sirota summarized the feelings I've been having about the Obama administration since the first 100 days of President Obama's administration. Kudos to speaking up and speaking out about how many Americans believe that their is too many handshake deals and not enough being done about our most pressing issues. Toes need to be stepped on President Obama! That is the only way to get things done!

Commenter: Bret Bowman
David Sirota made one observation that I've been making myself for many months now to everyone I know because it's important.

Populism should work for Progressives right now because the general voting public is, on most of the major issues, significantly to the left of our elected representatives. Almost no one in power is representing the majority of American people anymore. If we fail to make ourselves heard, and I mean right damn now, we risk a typically moronic, DNC/DLC, inside the beltway, cable news hyped interpretation of polling trends that says Americans want moderates most of all. Therefore, the logic goes, as the right-wingers move to the right, the Democrats should chase them to "triangulate" like Uncle Bill used to do. This will supposedly win moderate Independents.

BS to all that. Independents are independent because they're angry with the two parties for being taken over by their respective campaign funders and for seldom ever delivering on their hype, in other words, for being crooks and liars enthralled to corporations.

Moderation is a virtuous temperament, not a principled political position.

I've yet to hear anyone point out the most obvious of all. The political leadership of our country has moved to the right for the last thirty years, but the American people have not. Neither have the European people. Finding the political center is absolutely without any doubt a matter of MOVING TO THE LEFT. It's not communist. It's not radical. It makes sense. It just makes logical sense. Now we move to the left. Now we stop committing war crimes. Now we restore civil liberties. Now we reign in the corporations, banks and Wall Street gangs. Now we take care of each other like we used to.

Bret Bowman
Seattle, WA

Commenter: Paul Whiting
I was disappointed with the David Sirota interview last week. While I generally think his points are well-taken and that his is an articulate and intelligent critique of our political landscape, not once did he mention the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. At four different points in the interview he enumerated problem areas such as unemployment, lack of a decent health program, and a couple of others, not once did he mention our attempts to address the complexity of the middle East in a non-military fashion. And, Mr. Brancaccio, with all due respect because as I do admire your work (I watch every week!), I think you might have broached that subject in a question or two.

Paul Whiting
Billings, MT

Commenter: E Truesdale
It's unfortunate that some people stayed away from the polls because most office-seekers aren't as compelling as Obama was, and it seems like people are still burned out by the whole election in 08. No one can reasonably expect that the new Admin could undo in 8 mos. what it took since 1980 to 'F' up. Honestly.

Commenter: C Clearly
Interesting election results, which reflected response to State not national issues. It's wise to remember 20% of voters are party idealists. Half are hard right, and half are hard left. Another 20% are party moderates, again split equally left-right. (The 'Blue Dogs' are in this group.) They speak somewhat to both party centrists and independents which are a large voter block of 60%. This group has decided every major election going back to 1980. The troubles today are rooted in both DNC and RNC 'idealists' controlling party leadership. This presents a corundum of unbalanced political agenda, which threatens having balanced party principals. This inability for either party to balance their platform and embrace centrist voters is causing a backlash at the poles. 2009 elections are just a tip of a very large iceberg which will decide the 2010 elections.

The 2012 elections will be taken by whichever party rejects extremist views and supports middle America independents. The DNC is closer to accomplishing that goal with 'Blue Dog's' more pragmatic proposals. RNC is still floundering with their inability to embrace Constitutionally required 'limited federal powers' supported by RNC centrists. Actually these 2009 internal revolts in both parties is good for America. It will re-center both DNC and RNC for 2012 election. If only one party finds center, they will carry 2012. If neither party can find center, chaos will ensue, and many third parties will emerge both left and right. Hopefully this can be done in a civil and peaceful manner. Otherwise, the chaos could create a political backlash similar to 'troubles' we see today in Ireland.

Until both DNC and RNC can get wheels back on their wagons; moving forward politically will be difficult. Sidebar note: many recent progressive ideas in congress have been supported with regressive funding schemes. Liberal leadership needs to remember that progressive agenda also needs progressive (not regressive) funding solutions to be palatable in middle America.

Commenter: Pete Smith
Problem we have today in America is lack of primary education on fundamental meaning of our US Constitution. This ignorance is one cause for our unending personal liberty vs government control debate in congress and by voters. Democracy permits you freedom to 'have it your way' until it infringes on any freedom or liberty of others. Government control is limited by our Constitution to 'expressly permit' personal liberty to remain as a foundation of our nation. Neither political party today supports personal liberty as a primary principal. That is why voters from middle America are just waking-up. They always vote issues never the party, and usually vote personal freedom first. The 2009 and 2010 elections are revealing and only history can record whether government control or personal liberty won. You can't have it both ways. For every ounce one side gains is taken from the other. At present 'government control' is increasing, so naturally personal liberty is being lost. No nation lasts forever, and maybe this time the first nation ever founded on 'personal liberty' will vanish from the earth. I hope not.

Commenter: Songweasel
sirota is his usual laser sharp self. president obama is in the kitchen and he has to accept that he's going to take some heat.

good show.

Commenter: Fernando
Yes. I agree with David Sirota that the vote last Tuesday mean't change by throwing the bums out. Yes. I agree with David that President Obama is not taking the risk to promote change and it is going to cost him gravelly. Yes. I agree with David that the Obama Administration and the Democrats should pass pretty soon the policies/initiatives (i.e. health insurance reform with a PUBLIC OPTION, cracking HARD on Wall Street, fair Fair Trade policies that keeps jobs in the US, etc.) they promised, otherwise many will lose their seats in 2010 and Obama will lose the presidency in 2012. Yes. I agree with David that the populist movement is growing and that it is anger motivated with Washington & the STATUS QUO, and if Obama doesn't change his passive attitude and deliver on the change promise and some Democrats in Congress don't change, HE and THEY will lose all those millions and millions of populist, grassroots people and many Democrats in Congress that are willing to challenge the status quo, and eventually there will be a THIRD PARTY in this country. I believe that that is what we really need. The Republicans and Democrats have been allied and cater to Wall Street corporations for decades and most likely that will never change because they finance their campaigns. Lets get them out of there once and for all, otherwise we are in danger as a country ans as people as Davis suggests. Lets do it:


Commenter: patty maher
Glad to see David Sirota on for an intelligent analysis of the elections this week. The question I wish had been asked: why did most of the media echo the GOP talking points about Tuesday's election? Exit polls showed definitively that the election was not a referendum on Obama. Yet media continues to promote that narrative. Why can't they admit their pre-election analysis was wrong. Why do they continue the narrative when it's not based in reality? Even here, on the PBS website, the poll asks whether we think the election reflected dissatisfaction with the president-- a leading question if I ever saw one. PBS should not echo cable news stations, who clearly echo GOP talking points from the GOP. Thoughtfulness is what I turn to PBS for!

Commenter: Hermes
Who deserves to govern? Republican for eight years control the congress and presidency and what were the results of their leaderships: Tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans (not paid for); two wars adding two trillion plus to the deficit (to be paid for by our kids); 45 million Americans without health insurance; increase poverty; bridges falling down (neglected infrastructure); middle class stand of living lower; higher employment; lower school test scores; teacher, firemen and policemen lay off. Do you really think these guys deserve to govern?

Commenter: Joe
I think David Sirota has a very good read on how we view the current state of affairs with the manner in which President Obama is governing.

I donated (at the age of 66) twice during his campaign - which I have NEVER done before for a politican candidate.

President Obama, with Geitner and Somers now part of his "in group", has made me quite skeptical that he will actually have the fortitude to make real CHANGE as Mr. Sorita points out.

Commenter: Joe Harsch
Very good read by David Sirota, on the present situation in the USA, and the Obama Administration!

As a non-partisan voter who for the first time (at age 66) donated to Obama's campaign twice - I wrote to the White House regarding his manner of CHANGE!

Thank you!


BAIL OUTS. I MAY HAVE BEEN THE FIRST TO SAY NO ONE HELPED ME. AND GEORGE FOR ORDINARY FOLKS TO USE BANKRUPTCY. ALSO, I BELIEVE THE CEOS SHOULD HAVE BEEN TERMINATED, AND RESTRICTIONS PLACED ON WHAT COULD BE DONE WITH THEIR STIMULUS MONEY. WHAT GREAT SMARTNESS DO THOSE PEOPLE HAVE THAT IT WOULD WASTE THEIR TALENT. IT WAS EVIDENT THEIR TALENT Lay in how line their own personal pockets. I always thought bonuses was for work well done. Since they led the banks into such a big hole, bonuses should not have been given. Contracts can be broken in a bankruptcy.

I love PBS.

Commenter: MinerSam
The problem in Washington is our Democracy. Which the Democrats RESTORED.

After the Republicans lost their advisors said that the only job they had (when the poop of their agenda hits the fan) was to make the Democrats looks bad to their constituants. This is all they have done for 3 years.

And since the Democrats restored THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY PARTY (Which had not been accorded to them) all the Republicans have done is to blackmail and filibuster, and it all began with Bush, FOR THE FIRST TIME, vetoing.

One problem on Main st. is a lack of understanding about what it takes.

It took Bill Clinton 5 years to begin to turn around the mess the Republicans had made after 12 years the controlled the White House.

Think about it When people start a small business it can take up to 3 years to get it going, you can not expect things to turn around fast when the US is much bigger than a small business.

The Democrats are working hard every day. But DO NOT KID YOURSELF the Republicans CONTROL OUR INFORMATION PIPELINES.

Commenter: afraid to use my name
I worked for Democrats for decades. I'm now actively working for Green Party candidates.
Immediately after the election, the Obama people said they wanted us to hold town halls about the issues. We did this in our small midwestern town-Over 88% of people wanted:
1. Medicare for everyone--no more insurance company games--retrain the insurance company workers.
2. A WPA style works projects administration--for putting high speed trains in the median of superhighways across america.
3. Solar and wind installations on individual homes--and factories in U.S. reinvigorated/retooled to build these here.
When it came time to report to the incoming administration--no one could take the data.
It's as if they did not want to HEAR what campaign workers had just done--gather the 'what should we do now that we're elected infromation'--and while I'm happy they asked, it really seemed wierd.

Commenter: Claudia Heller
The whiff of change is in the air and the status quo crowd is scared. They are fighting tooth and nail not to be pushed into the shadows, and the very ferociousness of their attacks shows that they feel at risk. So, I say to anyone who is disgruntled by the reality that changing the way Washington does business is not moving fast enough for you, where do you think we'd be if the Republicans had won this past election? From Reagan to "W", with very few deviations, this country has been run for the benefit of the wealthy and at the expense of the middle class and, as always, the poor. Change under this president can not be expected to develop in the blink of an eye, yet there has been change, and I don't doubt there will be more. If we want it, we'll have to commit to playing our parts as citizens in this process and hold this administration's collective feet to the fire.

Commenter: Walter & Victoria Creed
We don't think that the election results of this past Tuesday reflect dissatisfaction w/ the President. But we agree that if the President doesn't come through w/ serious regulation of Wall Street and a health care bill that reflects the will of the American public--that is, w/ a robust public option, then both the President and the American people will be in deep trouble. Grass roots America isn't those right-wing fanatics organized by the health insurance industry and people like Dick Armey; they're people like us, who want you to do more to carry out your campaign promises!

Commenter: Carl
In my view, it is way too soon to be concluding that Mr. Obama hasn't done enough, or is unsuccessful, or if he is, ultimately, a successful president. He has been in office for several months...not even a year. Every president has detractors...this country has a population of, what, MILLIONS...but the problems are equally vast! Meaningful solutions will take time to be formulated properly, time to be implemented, and time to be successful. It was never going to happen overnight, or even in a few months. I am willing to give Mr. Obama this time; I believe his way of listening and thinking first is wise; Ronald Reagan had a challenging couple of years at the beginning, remember? Even the know-it-all columnist on Friday night had to bow to the possibility that Mr. Obama may be on the right track...which then made his earlier remarks snicker-worthy. How can he say the president's handling of things isn't in the right place, and then say Mr. Obama may be on to something after all...suggesting it'll naturally take time to see worthy results?? In my opinion, Mr. Obama is the real deal, right for the moment. I like how he's doing so far, but will he be, ultimately, a successful president? We'll know in time.

Commenter: J Madison
No, the problem is not Obama, he's trying. The President's handlers are intentionally ignoring economy and job creation reality by believing their own spin. That coupled with an out of control congress who ignore their "limited federal powers" mandate in our constitution frustrate meaningful legislation. Neither party DNC or RNC embrace middle America, as both fight for symbolic king-of-the-hill status. The middle class and middle America are now awake and we'll see how DNC and RNC survive in 2010.
God Bless America, both parties can go to hell...

Commenter: Wayne Brumley
Mr. Sirota danced all over the real problem but never said it in so many words. The real problem is not political. The real problem is that the politicians have been bought and paid for by corporate money and therefore our government is a wholly own subsidiary with the only goal of protecting and increasing the corporate bottom line.

What is needed is not a grassroots fight over individual issues. As with the health care issue the discussion took place not with the people but with the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. The Baucus Bill was only the written version of the deals that had been made already made with those corporations. It was the lobbyist written bill that not only eliminated reforming health care but turned reform of the insurance corporation's practices into a major windfall for those corporations. The only thing the resulting grassroots protest might accomplish is to turn a pure giveaway program that will enrich those corporation only was some watered down insurance reform that might let a few more people get coverage. It can barely be called insurance reform.

Trying to protest these corporate give away programs individually is accomplishes nothing more than to slow the inevitable, a corporate state were the citizens become mere serfs living in poverty totally dependent on the corporations that are the government.

What is needed is grassroots support for legislation or a constitutional amendment that gives free speech rights in elections and legislation only to those who actually can vote with penalties for any who uses that right to represent a non-voting entity such as a corporation. Only by ending corporate control on a wholesale basis, not a case by case basis suggested by Mr. Sirota, can the strangle hold Wall Street and the corporations now have be broken. Otherwise, just as happened with health care reform the only discussion that takes place will be with the corporation dictating what they will get from the people with the people getting only enough crumbs to keep them alive to serve those corporations. Since the corporations care about nothing other than their own bottom lines it is certain that they will care nothing of destroying the country as long as they can make a buck doing it.

Unless the discussion on policy matter are conducted with the people about what is in their best interest and that of the country instead of with the corporations about what will protect or increase their profits I hold out little hope this country will endure much longer before these corporations do the only thing they are good at, eliminate all others that might cut into their profits including their own workers that are producing that profit. After all, it's nothing personal, just business.

Commenter: Robert
I could not have said it better. Really, I could not have done so. Seriously though Dave Sirota hit the nail on the head as he usually does. He is right that you do not bring about change without making some enemies or some unhappy people. I'm tired of being fed that the "middle" is the place to be; personally I call them the mediocre (same latin root). True not everything is either black or white but neither is everything is gray. How dull is that. Compromise has it's limits and in the end often doe not work or cannot work. It is time Mr. Obama put his foot down and made a few people angry on both sides as Mr. Sirota said in a more articulate way. And most of all what is true is that we have to get on his and the congress's case to get things done.

Commenter: Hai-Ho
No the GOP win doesn't reflect on Obama's performance as the President. He did more for this country in eight months than the last president did in eight years. The GOP drives a divisive agenda that forces people to dislike the president. Personally I think the GOP still haven't gotten over the fact that they have a black president yet. Their selfish agenda is to do whatever it takes to destroy his presidency--very small of them indeed.

Commenter: Ralph McDonald
I totally support Obama and this means exactly what David Sirota put so well in the show as expectations and sadly, some disappointment so far with Obama. Obama is too cool and at times comes off as lacking passion for the cause he verbalized so well. I know he feels as he speaks, deep down to his core. But, I do feel, concerning staff, the fox is in the hen house at times. Put David Sirota in charge President Obama!
As he quoted Roosevelt, WE MUST PUSH HIM TO DO WHAT WE WANT! Public Option/Single Payer - Wall Street Reform - Bank Reform - Public Works - EnviroReform

Commenter: Jason H. Fuller
Why can politicians understand the American will as well as David Sirota does? Mr Sirota, please run for office!

Commenter: Sally E. Nave
What a relief to hear Daivid Sirota again and I plan to read the new book. I wish the people in the House and Senate and White House had his Mental Clarity and Balance...and he expressed my thoughts exactly only in more detail, due to his information. I often get frustrated and feel hopeless and choose to NOT listen for days, until I can handle it again.
I literally wish David Sirota and Al Gore could/would become ADVISORS to Obama...David S. sure did 'hit the nail on the head' describing Obama's behaviors or lack of, since election. I also learned something new to me....that all the Presidents have needed to be pushed do do couragous acts for us citizens..:(
Oh well, as long as there are those to do the PUSHING maybe it's O>K>!?!?!?
Thank you David Brancaccio for leaving NPR and coming to do these great thought provoking programs.

Commenter: Lorraine Nycklemoe
Where is the march on Washington for health care reform? Are we fired up - ready to go?

Commenter: Doris Langridge
So -- the Republican Right puts it out that their success in winning a few governorships in last week's election is a repudiation of President Obama. The mainstream media dutifully picks up on this and circulates it all over. Even PBS tags along.
What a bunch of bull. Governors do not have any clout in Congress.
What is the Republican hold on the mainstream media? Oh yes,I forgot. They own large chunks of it.
The Republicans are a minority party who have apparent problems with the truth and with patriotism. Power seems to be their only goal. The conduct of Republicans continues to amaze me. As do the meek followers of the loudest media voices.
Let's review what has happened.
The US economy avoided a complete crash in the fall of 2008 -- a process that started 20 years ago in the Clinton era, with the exporting of American jobs overseas, to the short term profit of U.S. companies. Accelerating deregulation in the G.W. Bush presidency finished us off.
The Obama administration has been in power 10 months, during which time the Republican party, instead of hanging its head in shame and doing everything in its power to set the economy and the country to rights, has become the Party of No. It has even stated a goal of working to make sure that President Obama does not succeed. This is traitorous.
The opposition's role should be to offer VIABLE (not rediculous) alternatives, not set about to ensure an administration's failure. Where are the voices objecting to this traitorous objective? I have not heard any.
And what is the public's response? To expect Obama to set all problems to rights within 10 months. We are like a bunch of children -- crybabies -- "Gimme it now, or I'll throw a temper tantrum".
Are people really so ready to vote republican in 2010? To vote back the party which caused all the current economic problems? Are people really so short-sighted? Do they really have such a short memory?

Commenter: bonnie
I do not agree with David Sirota that the majority want more change. We are in shock at the outrageous spending and especially do not want government health insurance. We are in shock at the failure of the bailouts, the arrogance of Wall Street and the failed promises from Obama (no lobbyists, no earmarks, etc etc etc.) We need JOBS, JOBS JOBS. That is the only answer.

Commenter: Jim Smith
I voted for President Obama because I thought he had the backbone to bring real and important change to Washington, New York and the country. So far I've been sorely disappointed. It appears Democrats and Republicans alike only listen to special interest groups and the loud mouths on talk radio and TV. The hard working middle and lower class citizen is being totally ignored and forgotten.

Commenter: MAC
Good grief. President Obama has said all along that it took eight years to get the country in this mess, and it will take a long time to make the needed changes. The important thing he has said is that great thought and careful planning must be behind wise change and I agree. Change for change sake is the worst kind of change, example the last eight years. Obama said it is like turning a huge ship around. People need to pull out their old newspapers and be reminded of the total incompetency that ran this country for eight years. Every single facet of life in this country was affected in a negative way.

I have a real problem with the "Give it to me now!" generation of David Sirota. Our culture has become more impatient with every breath. Example: Fast food eating; texting (while driving), etc. etc. Go home, bake some bread from scratch, and while it is rising, baking and cooling practice patience. Then see how so much more delicious this bread is compared to the bought bread ready to eat. Life is like that. Nothing worthwhile can be done quickly or cheaply.

We are faced with so many urgent issues on every front for real change to happen we must participate. President Obama has said that he needs us. This Christmas shopping season will be a test of our resolve. Are we going to complain about the fact there are no jobs, or are we going to create our own local economic stimulus by buying from local artisans? We are part of the solution. I will be looking for items to buy as gifts that are quality products made by people in my town. If everyone did that, we would be passing the money to then be spent by those people on items or services they need locally. That is how it works. When we pad the pockets of the wealthy WalMart Walton family with multiple mansions, etc. we are also sending the money to China or other foreign countries. Sirota is wrong when he criticizes patience. The trickle down theory locally that we create with our own spending dollars this Christmas season will take time to be totally felt down the pike. But it will be felt if we buy local goods. It will be totally lost and not felt at all, if we buy goods from China. Keep our money in our own neighbor hoods. That is positive action upon which we can direct our anger.

Direct your anger into a resolve to buy locally, or within 100 miles, or within your state, and lastly products made in the USA, and not just the label.
Nobody from Washington, China or anywhere else can tell you that you cannot do that, but they will try. They will threaten you with a big speech about the "global economy". But we have free will and power in numbers over the impact our spending dollars can have, right here and right now. It will be a great lesson to our children when we teach them how it works and why buying the "Made in China" latest kid fad is destroying the ability of our own citizens to put a roof over their head and bread on the table.

Commenter: Linda W.
The recent elections represent the public's desire for political change. Incumbents are being voted out and hopefully replaced with someone new who will represent the people. This voter wants term limits - maybe others do as well. People become corrupted when they are in office for too long.

Commenter: David Geoffrion
I'm not dissatisfied with Obama, just with the Congress who seem to be too accomodating to big corporate donors instead of my interests. Clearly, a public option in our mix of health care is in the interest of the nation at large. Why isn't corporate america interested in lowering the cost health care for their employees? because they don't plan to offer it as part of their employment package.

Commenter: Colene Voll
GOP wins reflect successful GOP campaigning. Republicans have managed, with their high-profile complaining, to put their opinions in the forefront and mobilize their electorate with mere propaganda. Democrats, on the other hand, seem to have thought that it was enough that they won the last major election. But campaigning must never stop if continuous success is expected.

Commenter: Vince
I'm too Mad, i do not want to be disrespetful.

Commenter: barbara holland
How anyone could say yes after hearing David Sirota's compelling description of the election. People want change. But now Barack has to deliver.

Commenter: Eileen Tucker
Great show and helps to make sense of what is going on in this confusing time ! David Sirota's comments are so on target and describe what I, as a moderate democrat, feel ! I voted for change and yet I don't see the change I expected....I have friends becoming deeply in debt because banks have raised the rates on money they owe on credit cards after taxpayers bailed them out!I have family members who have no medical insurance and no options to get any because of illness or are working two jobs and still cannot afford to keep food on the table and no chance of expensive insurance premiums being affordable! I know people with life partners that they cannot visit in intensive care because they do not have the right to be a couple ! I live in a state that just cut state medical care for children of the working poor effective Dec. 1 2009. I will be voting for change in the next election also,as Mr Sirota says I will not vote for any of my Representatives that do not vote to solve these problems. Thank you for this opportunity to express my views. Eileen Tucker

Commenter: Laura from Rochester, NY
If the Obama administration continues to legitimize the lobbyists, allows itself to be swayed by Wall Street and the military, and continues to brook and even dignify Republican mind games, he may well lose a large segment of those who swept him into office. In the recent elections, I imagine it could be that democrats simply did not turn out--due to their disillusionment with democrats in office--including those in the legislature.

Thank you for interviewing David Sirota who describes these dynamics well.

Commenter: Diane
No matter how many times they say it's not about Obama, it's absolutely about Obama.
Progressives gave us dumbed down schools where our children are taught about gay sex ed but they can't read, ACLU, welfare, hypocritical political correctness, and 9/11 denials of Muslim involvement.
We've been ACORNED

Commenter: Jonny
Governors races have nothing to do with Presidential politics. People have such a short sighted view of things. How hard is it to look up and see that in 2001 Democrats won the Governor races in NJ & VA even though Bush had sky high approval ratings at the time (due to it being post 9/11)??? Obviously that had nothing to do with Bush (and the Republicans went on to have great years in 2002 and 2004.) It shows the sad state of journalism today that no one is bringing up this basic fact which so clearly shows how ridiculous it is to say that this year's races in NJ & VA have anything to do with Obama, particularly when you consider that the Democrats went 2-0 in the two congressional races.

Commenter: Keith Van Heyningen
Sounds Great if your a communist !

Commenter: Mack
In spite of the fact that the percentages indicate to me that there is a large hopeful Republican audiance : hoping that the recent VA. and N.Jersey Gov elections signal the collapse of the President. I would rather suggest that the indictment is upon the "blue dog " conservative democrates and only partially reflects an unrest with the President. But either way the message is clear. The change that was expected from the Presidential election has not been realized nor does it seem to be comming in any fast and furious way which would have been indicated from the campaign. It may be becoming even more clear that President has promised what he cannot deliver and may be unwilling or lack the guts to fight for. He's looking like a "status quo" leader at this point instead of the firey revolutionary calling for much needed change which won the election. It's also clear that the GOP is looking for any shred of victory to hang their hat on that pronounces them ; back from the dead ; as it were. While both the Virginia and New Jersey Governor elections were substantial wins and definitive defeats for the Dems., I would still veiw it as a warning shot across the bow for democrats and the President as well. If he wants to save his buddies and keep a substantial majority he/ they'd better get real busy real fast like David Sirota suggests in "The Uprising".
Thank You !

Commenter: Verna Poquette
Enjoyed the program this week. Interesting topic and I found myself agreeing with a lot of what was said. I do not believe that this past week's election was a referendum on the Obama presidency. However, I do feel that this president needs to be out there talking about the health bill, regulation of the financial industry, etc. In other words, he needs to lead. I am an independent and I do not think that the election means that we will be voting Republican next time either. I would say it is a big mistake on their part to think that we the public think they are the answer. We don't like them any better. They do nothing other than criticize the democrats. The change will come with a strong Independent or third party candidate.


Commenter: Steve from MN
As a person who has worked "Get out the Vote" in a number of elections I wonder what the results of the NY-23 election really tell us. Both parties have been putting a lot of emphasis on absentee voting (with very mixed results in elections across the country). I'm wondering if unfortunately the Conservative insurgency only failed because much of the 5% of votes for the moderate Republican had already been cast before she suspended her campaign and endorsed the Democrat the weekend before the election.

If this is the case, its actually bad news for Democrats and good news for the most conservative wing of the Republicans.

Commenter: Pat L.
I don't think this is about the President, I think, at least in New Jersey, it's about the corruption, the lack of change, taxing Health Club Memberships, toll increases, double dipping of Pensions by local politicians, closing of Hospitals, mismanagement on all levels.

Commenter: Ed from Iowa
Sirota is dead on. Best analysis I've heard or read yet.

Commenter: McCray G.
I think it is ridiculous to say that Gov. Corzine's loss was due to dissatisfaction with president Obama. I am a NYC resident working in Hoboken NJ, 3 months before this most recent election the mayor of Hoboken along with 2 other New Jersey Mayors were indicted for corruption. Everyone in the NY metropolitan area was subjected to the vicious political ads put on by both Corzine and Christie. They each convinced me I wouldn't vote for either candidate given the choice.

Last year Obama was elected on a "change" platform and with the corruption and nasty political campaign run by John Corzine, he just seemed like more of the same political machine. In fact, one of Christie' ads had people saying, "I voted for Obama because I wanted change, that is what Chris Christie is: change." He was trying to associate himself with Obama.

I just don't understand how not re-electing a governor who had corrupt mayors, the highest unemployment rate in 20 years, and increased the property taxes, is based on anything other than John Corzine's own record in office.

Commenter: Mugsy
How did "Republican" become this country's "fall back" position in elections? It has seemed to me for quite a while that voters are very quick (too quick imho) to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt and have very little patients with Democrats.

Ronald Reagan quadrupled the national debt in his eight years from $1T when he came in to $4T when he left. Bush-41 added another $1T in his four years. Clinton, for all his *personal* faults, shrank the debt, balanced the budget and left a surplus. GWB then turned that surplus into the biggest deficit in history and more than *doubled* the National Debt by adding another $5T to it. And now, all the Republican "teabaggers" screaming about "spending" never said "boo" in the eight years Bush-43 and the Republican controlled Congress ran up all this debt and destroyed the economy. Add to that his violations of the Constitution, warrantless wiretaps, "free-speech zones" and suspension of Habeas Corpus for American citizens, only to have these same Republicans apoplectic, claiming President Obama wants to turn this country into "the Soviet Union" because he wants to reform health insurance.

And now that President Obama hasn't undone 28 years of Conservative mayhem in just 10 months, we're taking polls on whether people are ready to rush back to the people that created this mess in the first place???

I ask again... how did "Republican" become this nations fall-back position?

Commenter: Bob McBeth
I think David Siota has it exactly correct; the vote mean't change by throwing the bums out. I certainly feel what is going on in Congress is only about them and not about the American People. Here's a question for you: how many of the jobs lost in this down turn were jobs moved overseas just to take advantage of the constant stream of job losses when those moved jobs had nothing to do with economy-forced losses but were instead just taking advantage of this situation in the hopes that no one would notice. I suspect the number is huge.

Commenter: Russell Johnson
I have been angry for a long time, 30 plus years, the democrats are crows and all they know is capitulation, the Republicans are greedy, corrupt &^%%#!)s and NOBODY IS REPRESENTING THE INTREST OF WORKING AMERICANS!!!!!!!!!!!! no speaks of the endless hordes of people that work in the political process and are equally adapt to wearing any hat except one that helps working Americans. the Democrats have the power and the only salvation for America is election finance reform, Government paid elections. Senator Trent Lott, one of the most powerful men in the world and he resigned to go to wall street, nuff said,,,, all corrupt bastards
Russell Johnson Altus Arkansas

Commenter: Jane Jackson
Definitely not - at least not to the degree that is being suggested. The idea was pushed ahead of time and endlessly speculated on after the election - that the governors' races are a referendum on the Obama administration. But people vote on the personality and the positions of the candidates for governor - the governors will not be voting in Congress - there is no real connection to the administration's policies. But politicians declare it is a referendum and the press repeats it and repeats it and repeats it - and- voila, people start to believe it.

If the Democrats won the governorships, it still would not be a referendum on Obama's policies.

Commenter: Ole Ole Olson
About your poll: "Do you think GOP wins this past Election Day reflect dissatisfaction with President Obama?". I fear this poll is going to have the same fate as the recent NPR poll that was rigged by the radical right (particularly the freerepublic nuts).

Nobody should take the results of an online poll seriously...ever.

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