Obama as Nixon???

by: Paul Rosenberg

Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 09:00

I was so wrong.  I thought Obama was JFK-like, long on charisma, but short on heavy lifting.  Turns out, he was more like Nixon, the man JFK beat, but that's only become obvious in adversity. Richard Nixon, OTOH, was like that all along.  He just loved to blame everybody except himself.  It's how he got elected--by finger-pointing at Communists real & imagined--and it's how he dealt with defeat as well:

"You won't have Nixon to kick around any more..."

Of course, in Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady : Richard Nixon vs Helen Gahagan Douglas-Sexual Politics and the Red Scare, 1950, Greg Mitchell explains quite clearly how Nixon's rise to power was fueled by a sweetheart relationship with the press, highlighted by the LA Times chief political reporter, managing editor and editorial page editor (yes, he wore all three hats at once), Kyle Palmer, who also functioned as Nixon's de facto campaign manager. Nixon's rage at the press in 1962 reflected his loss of privileged treatment that he had previously taken for granted throughout his period on the national stage.  Now it seems clear that--for much more complicated reasons--Obama has lost his magic as well, and he, too, is lashing out at others.

"[I]f people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place."

Ah yes! Impeccable logic:  "If you don't love my sellouts, then you never had any ideals!"

"How a handful of liberal bloggers are bringing down the Obama presidency." [In the President's mind]

"Hectoring the Base: It's Not About GOTV, It's About Laying the Blame."--

Both Daou and Hamsher's diaries were linked to in Quick Hits, and both had excellent things to say.  Hamsher's was particularly devastating, as she recalled the parade of Obama's presidential leadership:


October 23, 2009, Creigh Deeds - Ten days before the general election, from the Washington Post:

    Top Democrats seek to shield Obama in case of election loss....

January 17, 2009:  Martha Coakley - Two days before the Massachusetts election, from Ed Henry, CNN:

    Sources: Obama advisers believe Coakley will lose....
May 18, 2010: Arlen Specter - the night before the Pennsylvania election, ABC News:
    White House distances Obama from Specter....

June 7, 2010 - 1 day before the Arkansas election, Sam Stein in the Huffington Post:
    Obama Disengages From Race As Blanche Lincoln Slips In Polls....

I can tell you without fear of contradiction that in the last days of a tight race, or even a not-tight race, short of the FBI finding a stash of kiddie porn on your laptop there is nothing worse than the headline-grabbing news that the head of your party, the President of the United States, thinks you are a shitty candidate and his aides are privately saying you are going to lose.

It could easily shave 5 points off your total and mean the margin of defeat.  It threatens to instantly suppress all those difficult-to-motivate 2008 "surge" voters the Democrats have been chasing, and which Obama's support was supposed to deliver....

There is no internal consistency to the narrative that the "professional left" is suppressing turnout by criticizing Obama, but Obama is not suppressing turnout when he scolds the voters who aren't clapping loudly enough for his achievements.  But few in the professional punditocracy find their way to that obvious conclusion.

This isn't about GOTV. It's about setting up a fall guy for November. The headline should really read:

Obama Distances Himself From Democratic Voters

Democratic voters are all Martha Coakley now.  And if shielding Obama from blame makes matters worse for those who are actually running in November?  Well, that's the price of protecting the President.

The record Hampsher cites is clear and undeniable.  The only question left is "Why?"

Daou himself answers that on one level:

Paul Rosenberg :: Obama as Nixon???
When the Obama administration appeared to collude with BP to bury the Gulf spill, squandering a historic opportunity to reverse the anti-green tide, it was a moment of truth for environmentalists. Now, it is dawning on some Americans that Bush wasn't an aberration and that a Democratic administration will also treat fundamental rights as a mere nuisance. It truly is a new (un)reality:
    Let's face it, these are dark days for the left. As we barrel toward the November elections and an almost certain triumph for the GOP, we are losing the national debate and making giant strides backward on key issues. It's the new (un)reality:
    • George W. Bush is steadily and surely being rehabilitated and now the question is how much gratitude we owe him.
    • Sarah Palin can move the public discourse with a single tweet, promoting a worldview consisting of unreflective, nationalistic soundbites.
    • Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox are dominating the national conversation, feeding a steady stream of propaganda packaged as moral platitudes to tens of millions of true believers.
    • In the face of overwhelming evidence, climate deniers are choking the life out of the environmental movement and willfully condemning humanity to a calamitous future.
    • From ACORN to Van Jones, liberal scalps are being taken with impunity.
    • Feminism is being redefined and repossessed by anti-feminists.
    • Women are facing an all-out assault on choice.
    • Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy is being co-opted by a radio jock.
    • Schoolbooks are being rewritten to reflect the radical right's anti-science views.
    • The rich-poor divide grows by the minute and teachers and nurses struggle to get by while bankers get massive bonuses.
    • We mark the end of a war based on lies with congratulations to all, and we escalate another war with scarce resources that could save countless lives.
    • An oil spill that should have been a historic inflection point gets excised from public awareness by our own government and disappears down the memory hole (until the next disaster).
    • Guns abound and the far right's interpretation of the second amendment (the only one that seems to matter) is now inviolate.
    • Bigotry and discrimination against immigrants, against Muslims, against gays and lesbians is mainstream and rampant.
    • The frightening unconstitutional excesses of the Bush administration have been enshrined and reinforced by a Democratic White House, ensuring that they will become precedent and practice.
    • Girls and women across the planet continue to get beaten, raped, ravaged, mutilated, and murdered while sports games induce a more passionate response.

These aren't just dark days for the left, of course.  They are dark days for America as a whole, as well as for all sentient life on the planet.  Global warming, for one, does not mess around.  Just ask any of previous waves of mass extinction that it's been responsible for, either in whole (four of them) or in part (just one).

And the reason for all this boils down to just a few things:

    (1) Conservatives have been engaged in hegemonic warfare for nearly 40 years now, and liberals have not.

    (2) Anti-liberal, anti-progressive forces on the Democratic side of the aisles have adapted themselves to basic conservative hegemonic framing, and made attacking liberals (not just "the left") a routine part of their standard operating proceedure.

    (3) The above two factors have been so all-pervasive that even after conservatism had collapsed in a multi-faceted failure of epic proportions, Obama was able to portray himself as a profoundly progressive political figure based on the thinest of promises, and so much personalized marketing that he was able to walk away from virtually everything he campaigned on--often embracing the exact opposite--and still pretend that he had not changed a bit.

I know that a lot of people are increasingly angry with Obama, and justifiably so.  But there's an old street saying that applies in spades here:  Don't get mad, get even.

Because just getting mad at Obama doesn't do anything to fix the mess that he's helped to make even worse than it was when he arrived at the White House.  We need to understand why he's made it so much worse--and not just at the level of "kow-towing to Wall Street".

We need to understand not just the hegemonic forces we are up against, but also the rationale by which they convince themselves that they are not in fact doing what they are doing--which is nothing short of destroying the entire planet.

Like I said.  Nixon.

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Obama as Nixon??? | 74 comments
Self-Defined Left Goes Crazier (0.00 / 0)
Nixon?  The liar and criminal?  How low can you sink, Rosenberg?  Apparently pretty darned low.

I was around for Nixon.  I was there when Ford was defeated because he pardoned the criminal Nixon.  Where were you?

Obama isn't doing performance art for your pleasure.  He has made changes that folks in his base--like me--greatly approve of.  I applaud the legislation that plants the feds as in charge of our national health care for everyone--not just vets, not just seniors, not just kids, not just disabled, not just military and dependents.  Everyone.  Not perfect but the principle is now enacted.  I applaud the draw-down in Iraq.  I applaud end goals in Afghanistan instead of open-ended warfare for God knows what final goals.  There's more but I tire of this.

Nixon!  You, sir, are a fool.

Defending the indefensible (4.00 / 7)
Obama isn't doing performance art for your pleasure.

Not for my pleasure, certainly, but apparently for yours. My advice: Don't look away from the show, you won't like what you see. Better you should stick pins in your eyes now, in fact, and avoid the possibility altogether. (The ostrich fans will come down eventually, you know.)

[ Parent ]
Generic polls of the American electorate (4.00 / 10)
and not merely Obama's "base" - a term that has ceased to have much meaning - overwhelmingly believe his signature pieces of legislation, health care and financial reform, to be far too conservative and favorable to the insurance and finance capital industries.  

Whatever you may happen to approve of, do understand that you don't speak for voters in this country generally.


[ Parent ]
I think you missed the three big ? marks... (4.00 / 5)
...in the title of the post.

In many ways, Obama is the Democrats Nixon. Nixon was as far to the left (against the Goldwater/Reagan wing of the Republican Party) as Obama is to the right (against the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party"). Nixon was the first time in my life I heard the term imperial presidency, just like Obama is the first Democratic president in our lifetimes hugely advancing the power of the executive.

It's a little soon to know for sure how Obama will ultimately compare to Nixon. But the questions are valid.

[ Parent ]
Fool? Takes One To Know One, I Guess (4.00 / 7)
I applaud end goals in Afghanistan instead of open-ended warfare for God knows what final goals.

Petraeus has said it could take decades to reach our goals in Afghanistan.  And knowledgable critics such as Graham Fuller (20 years in the Middle East) have argued that we can never defeat the local insurgency in Afghanistan (who ever has in 2,500 years), but can only gain peace by leaving.

Sure sounds like "open-ended warfare for God knows what final goals" to me.  So I guess I'm not the only fool then.

Plus, Obama's now gearing up to start criminalizing the peace movement!

Here's a suggestion: My comparison with Nixon wasn't meant to be totalistic.  So don't get me started.

After all, so far, Nixon's record on the environment is better than Obama's!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
All I know is (4.00 / 10)
Any politician who starts whining about how the voters don't appreciate his supposed awesomeness may as well have a big red "L" tattooed on his forehead.  At this point I think Obama himself, as well as the country, will be a lot happier if he doesn't run for re-election.


Exactly! NEVER blame the customer! (4.00 / 5)
If an increasing number of customer stops buying what you wanna sell, complainign about them won't make them change their minds! Quite to the contrary, it will make them feel alienated by your company. If the customers run away, the only reasonable way to deal with this is to improve the product. Or at least the way the product is perceived. But no fingerpointing, ever! That's marketing 101, really.

[ Parent ]
And how could we encourage him not to run? (0.00 / 0)
Go after him hard in the primaries.

Follow Paul's lead in exposing him at every turn.

Dump Obama!

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan

[ Parent ]
Too simple (0.00 / 0)
I wouldn't equate someone choosing to expose Obama "at every turn" with their participation in a "dump Obama" movement.  While if the election were held tomorrow I could not vote for Obama, I don't understand the point of getting rid of someone only to remain beholden to the same power structure that will inevitably respond by producing yet another neoliberal exactly like him.

If a neoliberal candidate is going to run, I prefer to be able to draw a direct line from the individual to their policy choices and broader ideological commitments in the wake what's shaping up to be a massive electoral rebuke (unless the GOP self-destructs, a very plausible outcome).    

[ Parent ]
I agree (0.00 / 0)
I wouldn't equate someone choosing to expose Obama "at every turn" with their participation in a "dump Obama" movement.

Nor would I.  I believe we are at different points on a continuum.  Your comment below is right on the mark:

Nixon operated under the assumption that Americans wanted a robust social safety net and understood their individual freedoms as served by the so-called post-WWII "liberal consensus."  This is why I said it was the paradigm that drove his administration's policy and not Nixon's personal preferences.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan

[ Parent ]
You're Not Supposed To Think! (0.00 / 0)
That's not part of Jeff's program.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
What about your program? (4.00 / 2)
You seem to diss everybody recently who doesn't think like you do. Hmm, isn't that actually evidence that you don't like people to think?

[ Parent ]
Isn;t that what got us Obama in the first place? (4.00 / 3)
Hillary was too DLC, and we voting against her we ended up with the same cowardly corporatist incompetent centrism.

Obama will be replace by another villager

[ Parent ]
At this point (4.00 / 1)
A COMPETENT villager would be a refreshing change. Obama has revealed himself as a typical specimen of the kind of very smart idiot produced by our Ivy League "meritocracy".

[ Parent ]
Precisely (4.00 / 2)
A competent villager would understand about geese, and golden eggs, and all that.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Sounds like what I was saying when Bush II was in office (0.00 / 0)
and the result was Obama.

maybe this is as competent as they get.

Or, what appears as "incompetence" is really evidence of a different agenda - different than that espoused in the election, I mean.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Obama's failure to understand partisan politics (4.00 / 13)
is compounding his problems.  I'm a grad student, getting by in NYC on what grad students earn in humanities/social sciences programs, and I gave him $60 for the primaries and general election.  

This may not seem like much, but the "take your ball and go home" analogy reveals just how utterly blind this president is to the forces that enabled him to take power. There's no way Obama defeats Clinton without going on the record against the war in Iraq at the time it happened, a calculated (and what's looking more and more like a cynical) move that showed an understanding of the usefulness of left-wing insurgency within the Democratic party.

What the power elite in the Democratic party cannot fathom is that the results of the 1972 election results did not reveal the triumph of conservatism over liberal ideology among the American electorate.  Certainly, that election created incentives for conservatives to organize through the Democratic party, and, with deindustrialization and the loss of union jobs, a radical shift in the orientation of the party.  

Yet more so than in many decades, American voters - however they may choose to identify themselves ideologically - consistently and overwhelmingly express support for positions far to the left of the policy preferences of this administration and Democrats in Congress.  

But this President thinks he represents "Reason" writ large.  He's been "hired" to do a job and "works" for voters that are by definition disengaged and too concerned about the Situation's abs to pay attention to problems like our untenable international commitments, the erosion of the social safety net, the loss of good paying jobs, the skyrocketing cost of health care and the fact that Barack Obama chose precisely the group of people who ruined our economy to reform it.  

Unfortunately for the President, it seems people are paying attention and are capable of understanding that they're in trouble.  This expresses itself in myriad ways - culture wars, the Tea Party, the ascent of militant radical right fringe groups, and yes, the left-wing blogosphere.  What the President does not seem to understand is that the latter is far more in tune with the expressed preferences of American voters than any other group in the United States besides organized labor.  

More and more, the arrogance of the Democratic elite, Obama and his supremely "Rational" take on public affairs are demonstrating that "Reason" does not equal pragmatism.  There's no adjustment in Obama's positions or even his message. Indeed, Obama thinks you can mobilize people to contest for power in a system where political capital is won through a two-party system through "postpartisan" means.  This is truly baffling and utterly peculiar to Obama himself, but it is a logical extension of the neoliberal ideology that wrongly conceives of the American electorate as conservative.  

So here we are and it's the fault of the bloggers who, having helped to elect Obama to the presidency now have abandoned him in droves, while he deploys a now familiar "bash the base to appeal to the center" philosophy.  Except what neoliberal elites understand as the "center" has not held.  Voters are further to the left than we were thirty years ago.  Obama is not being rejected by the organized left merely, but voters generally.  When you see yourself as supremely "Rational" however, such conclusions prove difficult to reach.

Obama is "our" Nixon (0.00 / 0)
This is strange.  I compared Obama to Nixon as well.  I also did it without talking about the criminal aspect:  Obama is "Our" Nixon.

Our Dime Understanding the U.S. Budget

It's An Interesting Speculation (4.00 / 1)
I've always accorded more importance to the longer-term cycles of realignment, the most recent being 1896-1932-1968-2008. These longer cycles routinely have failed realignments in the middle of them--Wilson and Eisenhower in the first two cases, which were typical cycles in which one party dominated, while the third, atypical divided government cycle can be seen as having back-to-back mini-failed realignments with Clinton's trifecta in 1992, followed by the GOP take-over of Congress in 1994.

From this POV, Obama has clearly under-estimated the potential for change, as it's a time for a dramatic change of direction, and he's not even interested in trying--though he likes the rhetoric when it comes to seeking votes.  This has happened before, of course.  The post-1896 era was a very confused and turbulent one with no clear consensus on what it meant to be "progressive" (even McKinnely claimed the mantel in 1896 vs. the populist Bryan).

We will certainly see soon enough which sort of patterns play out.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Obama (4.00 / 1)
"Obama has clearly under-estimated the potential for change" only matters if Obama wants change.  Sure, he campaigned on it , but he also campaigned on a public option and ending civil liberties atrocities.

[ Parent ]
So??? (4.00 / 3)
He didn't betray us because his secret identity is Snidely Whiplash.  He betrayed us because he actually believes in all that "center-right nation" BS, which means there is no real potential for the sort of change his supporters thought they were voting for.

What he wants is a matter of personal reputation, to be a great leader. If he had any clue about historical/political reality, he would want change, simply as a matter of ego.

This was my great mis-calculation about him.  I never thought he was the great idealist he claimed to be.  I only thought he was a smart enough politician to realize that he had to play the role a damn sight better than he has.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Potential, but not enough movement to capitalize on it. (4.00 / 1)

Obama has clearly under-estimated the potential for change, as it's a time for a dramatic change of direction, and he's not even interested in trying--

There is a huge potential for change, but there still isn't a fully coherent progressive movement to capitalize on it.  

1. There is still no clear consensus on what it means to be progressive.
2. There is no strong movement to attack conservatism itself.(instead we attack Republicans)
3. Progressive's haven't found an overarching list of theme to unite behind.

When Conservatism swept America in the early 80s, Conservatives had all 3.

Our Dime Understanding the U.S. Budget

[ Parent ]
draw 2 lines in the sand (4.00 / 2)
No extension of tax cuts for the rich.
Rejection of the catfood commission.

ANY Democrat who votes to extend tax cuts for the rich is a pariah.

ANY Democrat who not only supports, but FAILS TO OPPOSE any cut in the safety net, including Social Security, is a pariah.

I don't care if they're running against Atilla the Hun in 2012.  Line in the sand.

If this leads to disaster, be it on their heads, not ours.

And Obama, by waffling on vetoing tax for the rich, and just setting up the catfood commission AFTER it was rejected by Congress, has crossed both lines forever.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan

[ Parent ]
Look at DailyKos... (4.00 / 1)
The masses are cheering, rallying, and demanding obedience.  Who are these people?  

I haven't decided how I will vote.  Gary Peters (D-MI) is mine and was a part of the House that wanted and pushed to extend ALL the Bush tax cuts.  He represents an affluent area, and the fool actually thinks he can buy Republican votes.  Or maybe he's just trying to buy Republican money.  I am pretty disgusted with the whole bunch.  If they are human, adults, or leaders, lord help us all.  

[ Parent ]
I've been saying this for two years (4.00 / 2)
Paul's analysis of realignments makes the Nixon election the pivotal point for breaking FDR's hold on America, not Reagan.  2008 was supposed to realign us back to something more liberal.  That makes Obama our Nixon.

But Nixon himself played by New Deal rules, just as Obama plays by Reagan's rules.

I doubt many conservatives felt the shift in 1970.  It wasn't until Reagan's election in 1980 that the shift was obvious.  That implies we need to wait until 2020 for our Reagan.

Even Watergate didn't screw up the conservative realignment (de-alignment, actually).  Here's hoping Obama can't screw this up, either.

[ Parent ]
This is what I think, too. (4.00 / 6)
During the election everyone claimed Obama was a transitional politician and he is. But he's not the first of a new kind, he's the last of an old kind.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Hopefully! (4.00 / 1)
From your lips to God's ear!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Nixon Was A Lot More Radical Than People Realize (0.00 / 0)
because he ultimately failed in what he was trying to do.

That's the basic problem I have with your formulation.  Because our universe didn't take that branch, it looks as you describe it.  But that's not because of who Nixon was, it's just because we caught a break in this branch of the multi-verse.

This is not to say he was radical in the same way that the Reaganite crazies were. (And don't forget, those guys hated Reagan after Iran/Contra when he went all soft trying to save his legacy, made nice-nice with Gorbachev, etc.)  But he did want to totally change America in a way that would make it totally other than what we previously knew, which is the kind of change that Democrats never really dreamed of making, even at their most expansive.  Dems always just wanted to make it more like its good parts for a larger chunk of all its people.  That's why, for example, Dems vastly expanded homeownership, in a way that never happened in Europe.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Dude... (0.00 / 0)
Nixon was more of a liberal. Earned income tax credit, the EPA...

Nixon wasn't a liberal (4.00 / 2)
that's the point.  The paradigm in which Nixon understood himself to be operating prior to 1972-3 was explicitly liberal to the point of self-congratulation.

Nixon would have preferred to implement the agenda that Obama has put in place but correctly did not think it was possible.  

[ Parent ]
True, But (4.00 / 1)
There's also the two facts that:

(1) Nixon really didn't care about domestic policy all that much, so he had a greater willingness to go along, even when he didn't agree.

(2) Nixon hated the GOP establishment almost as much as he hated the Dems, and was actually more interested in power-relations--and his dream of building a new party in his own image--than he was in the specifics of most legislation.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Your first point (4.00 / 1)
is completely consistent with the transition in ideological hegemony that you have pointed out in the past and my post above refers to.  The reason Nixon didn't care about domestic policy is that he believed the terms under which it was implemented to be matters of settled law.  Nixon operated under the assumption that Americans wanted a robust social safety net and understood their individual freedoms as served by the so-called post-WWII "liberal consensus."  

This is why I said it was the paradigm that drove his administration's policy and not Nixon's personal preferences. It's a big mistake to confuse Nixon's "willingness to go along" with liberals with whether or not he "care[d] about domestic policy" in that it ignores the profound power that goes with appearing ideologically dominant, something you have pointed out with respect to Obama to great effect.  But it's a mistake that a lot of intelligent observers of the period tend to make and requires more extensive and studied correction than I can provide right now.  

You're absolutely right about number 2, but hating the GOP establishment - something that had yet to purge itself of its Rockefeller element - was, as you know, a far different proposition in 1972 than now, or even 1980.  

[ Parent ]
Coakley, Specter, and Lincoln WERE terrible candidates, (0.00 / 0)
and were on the road to defeat, which had nothing to do with anything the White House said. Obama should be blamed for supporting them in the first place. Jane Hamsher has written some pretty good columns during the Obama administration, but this is not one of them. And we shouldn't forget that she was a rabid Hillary supporter. I'm sure she believes, without any justification at all, that things would be different under Clinton.  

please post links (4.00 / 2)
to demonstrate that Hamsher "was a rabid Hillary supporter"

My (imperfect) memory seems to recall FDL as being neutral(ish), with a slight lean towards Obama.  

[ Parent ]
I don't keep such links, and I'm afraid I'm not very good at internet (0.00 / 0)
searches. Hamsher never had a "slight lean towards Obama" except near the end of the general. She supported Clinton, and wrote some pretty over-the-top columns.

[ Parent ]
ok, fine (4.00 / 2)
a.  I doubt your bald assertion about Jane being a Clinton supporter, but, for the sake of argument, even if what you declared, without proof, is true,

b.  you haven't negated Jane's argument; instead, you've engaged in fallacious argument (argumentum ad hominem).

[ Parent ]
I thought Hamsher's Clinton support was well known. (0.00 / 0)
I'm sorry this is the best I could do with my poor internet skills. This Daily Kos article starts by taking the support for granted by calling Hamsher a "longtime Hillary supporter."


[ Parent ]
What does this tired debate have to do (4.00 / 2)
with Hamsher's legitimate criticisms of Obama's presidency?

She's as much a critic of neoliberalism as Obama, which seems to make it clear that she's talking about ideological commitments, not her preference for certain individuals.  

[ Parent ]
I am talking about this particular column, and not denigrating (0.00 / 0)
Hamsher's legitimate criticisms. As I wrote, she has written some pretty good columns during this administration. Daou's analysis and Hamsher's analysis are at odds. Daou believes that liberal bloggers are "getting under Obama's skin," while Hamsher believes that Obama is lashing out just to "set up a fall guy" for upcoming losses.  

[ Parent ]
How has this to be at odds? (4.00 / 2)
I don't see why both views shouldn't be valid at the same time?

[ Parent ]
By definition, a scapegoat or a fall guy does not really (0.00 / 0)
bear the responsibility for the failure. Daou thinks that Obama does indeed believe that "liberal bloggers" have created the enthusiasm gap.

[ Parent ]
I don't really remember Daou saying that at all. (0.00 / 0)
Maybe I have to reread his piece, but I don't think he said anything about Obama believing or not believing this. The point was, this is constructed as an excuse for the Dems losing in this election.  

[ Parent ]
Daou reads the end of the Rolling Stone article as a telling (0.00 / 0)
moment--Obama comes back into the room and jabs finger into the air, complaining about those who want to take their ball and go home. Daou writes, "Again, this seems to confirm my suspicion that a few determined opinion-shapers on the left are getting under his skin."

[ Parent ]
Yup, but this doesn't say anything about Obama being honest. (0.00 / 0)
Don't forget, the guy is a pretender. He can say almost everything with a straight face, as if he really believes it.

[ Parent ]
Which is why his unwillingness (0.00 / 0)
to use his capacity to persuade in an explicitly partisan fashion - if if he doesn't believe in partisanship himself - is so completely frustrating.

How about a moratorium on evaluating the decisions of politicians as individuals based on their imputed personal beliefs.  It's not terribly informative as to who gets what, when and how.    

[ Parent ]
I am just saying that Daou and Hamsher have two theories (4.00 / 1)
about motivations, and they are not the same. And I agree that it doesn't really matter.  

[ Parent ]
Sure (4.00 / 1)
They were shitty candidates.  And Obama noticed this when?  And did what about it?

Exactly what Jane said, that's what.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Who cares what Obama does or does not do re Coakley, Specter, and Lincoln? (0.00 / 0)
Hamsher strings together MSM reports about the Pres's "advisors" and "top Dems," and says this shows Obama's failure. I am pretty sure more relevant examples can be found.

[ Parent ]
Who Hamsher supported is irrelevant and you know it. (4.00 / 1)
Even if she did support Hillary, which I rather doubt given Hillary's right-wing tendencies, what does it matter? She would rail at Clinton just as much as Obama if she were in office and doing the same things... which she certainly would.

Poor, poor Obamabots. All they've got left is "kill the messenger." You can't take issue with the content, so just make some crap up about who she supported nearly two years ago.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
So I am an Obamabot. Anyone against the Clintons is an Obamabot? (4.00 / 1)
If I am an Obamabot, you are a fool. I question the judgment of any Clinton supporter, because what we have under Obama is basically Clinton 2.0.

[ Parent ]
This makes me question your logic! (0.00 / 0)
Obama's failure is the fault of Clinton supporters? Come on, jcr, that's nuts!

[ Parent ]
Yes, Obama's failures are the fault of Clinton supporters, (4.00 / 1)
and we have to put Obama in that group. Why else would he put the same fuckers from the Clinton administration in charge of things?

[ Parent ]
This just doesn't make sense. (4.00 / 3)
OK, so Hamsher is wrong in criticizing Obama because she supported HIllary, who we all know is at least as Right-Wing as Obama. Additionally, you can't support your argument because you're not so good with The Google. And you don't like Clinton either.... so .... what again?

Here's the thing: if you want to argue with Hamsher's points, by all means do. I'm fine with that. If you think she's wrong, please explain why.

But simply pulling out the "she supported HIllary" thing serves no purpose beyond some silly ad hominem I admittedly don't understand. As in it makes no sense.

Additionally, if you think Hamsher's withering attacks on POTUS would be any different if Prez Hillary were doing the same things, you're just not thinking this through. And indeed, I have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary would be doing all the same things, including pissing on the base to avoid taking responsibility for her own stupidity borne of hubris. This kind of rank stupidity is all the rage amongst the Party Leadership these days.

So if I'm wrong about you being an Obamabot, I will tender my apology. But I would also ask you to consider that launching ad hominems against Obama critics is a hallmark of that crowd, since that's all they've got to offer up. Hence, you should be able to understand my reaction.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
The point is, you don't even know who Hamsher supported because (0.00 / 0)
1) you have a bad memory


2) you did not read Hamsher until recently.

[ Parent ]
So what? (4.00 / 2)
Even IF Hamsher supported Clinton, that's only evidence of her superior judgment! Obama supporters really can't use that as an argument anymore.  

[ Parent ]
How can you call that superior judgment when the govt (0.00 / 0)
is being run by Clinton folks, in a way that isn't too surprising?

[ Parent ]
Who says Clinton would have hired Clinton folks? (0.00 / 0)
Summers, for instance? Do you think Hillary would have appointed that mucho asshole? And then, Emanuel, that total jerk with his inexcusable manners, as chief of staff? Not in team Hillary! And then Hillary had first hand experience with healthcare reform, and much more experience in the Senate. Very doubtful she would have settled with Romneycare as a lame comromise. No way.

[ Parent ]
Gray, Clinton beat the drums of war in the Senate before (0.00 / 0)
the Iraq invasion. She paraded the south arguing for an amendment against flag burning. In NY, she had war rallies in Central Park with Elie Wiesel, with a clear Jews vs. Arabs subtext. In the primaries, she deliberately tried to motivate working-class whites in Pennsylvania with racial code. I could go on and on. Hillary is a rotten piece of work.

[ Parent ]
Hillary was open and honest about her stances. (4.00 / 1)
Obama not. Turns out Obama is actually worse than her. And that shit about allegedly racial codes where pure inventions by the Obama campaign. The Clintons were seen as the strongest allies of African American before the mudslinging started! It's really ridiculous that you still repeat those campaign lies.  

[ Parent ]
The only way they were inventions is if the Obama campaign (0.00 / 0)
somehow got a Clinton impersonator to get the look and voice just right. Your narrative about AAs and the Clintons is a simplistic one. The Clintons aren't racist, and perhaps Hillary doesn't want to vaporize Iran. But they will say and do anything to get and keep power.  

[ Parent ]
"they will say and do anything to get and keep power" (0.00 / 0)
That's simply ridiculous coming from an Obama supporter. We know by now there was one candidate who really did "say and do anything to get and keep power" and his name isn't Barack Hussein CLINTON!

[ Parent ]
What makes you think I am an Obama supporter? (0.00 / 0)
The level of discourse here has really gone down.  

[ Parent ]
You sure as hell aren't no Hillary supporter. (0.00 / 0)
So, that leaves not much room for alternatives. However, you're right, this is leading nowhere. Totally off topic anyway.

[ Parent ]
Still more confusion of individual intentions (0.00 / 0)
with the evaluation of political decisions.  Who besides people who cry during the Oprah Winfrey show should give a flying fuck what these people really think in their "heart of hearts."   Yecch.

Politicians are representatives. Evaluating their decisions in terms of fealty to an internalized belief system obscures more than it reveals.    

[ Parent ]
Well, since Clinton never made it to the Presidency, we don't (0.00 / 0)
have anything other than intentions and yes, Senatorial ACTIONS and VOTES to determine what kind of President Clinton would have been.

[ Parent ]
We have a helluva lot more than that (0.00 / 0)
For a start, you might begin by looking at the people who she chose to surround herself with during the campaign.

[ Parent ]
Ah yes, what a virtue it is to be honest and open about murderous intentions. (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
You're acting like a fool now. (0.00 / 0)
Double standards, much?

[ Parent ]
No, the point is you have a hard on for Hamsher. (4.00 / 6)
You're just playing "kill the messenger" here. You can't address her points, so you attack with some crap about who she supported in 2008.

It's not germane to the larger issue.  

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

[ Parent ]
How's this--a string of five reports from ABC, CNN, WashPo, (0.00 / 0)
and Huffpo, about five different candidates, that point to "Advisors," and "Top Dems," as the source of the information, is absolutely meaningless, and should not be used as the basis of any argument.

[ Parent ]
I guess the Nixon analogy has better resonance than (0.00 / 0)
Obama is our Zachary Taylor

The comparison is fascinating ... (4.00 / 1)
I've held that on a policy level, Nixon was to the left of Obama.  (Don't forget he went to China, if only to cement an anti-Soviet alliance.)  Ended the draft, 18-year-old vote.  Moynihan could even talk about guaranteed minimum income with a straight face.

But it's not only a matter of policies.  There's this old-fashioned base/superstructure stuff.

Nixon inherited Johnson's welfare state, the U.S. at the height of empire.  It was his task to administer that welfare state, albeit in a regressive manner.

Obama has inherited a dying empire.  His personality aside, that is what he administers.  His healthcare plan was an attempt to perfect that welfare state, but in a dying empire, that would have taken the courage of an FDR.

My point is that we have to view partisan politics in its overall context.  They scream, if the Republicans take over, they'll do this and that.  They may WANT to do this and that, but that doesn't mean that they CAN.  Likewise, whatever Obama may have WANTED to do, doesn't mean that he CAN.

Looking beyond 2010, then, we have to look at both the continuation of a Democratic majority or a Republican takeover in terms of how they actually CAN administer a dying empire.  Neither as happy as Obamacrats maintain or as bleak as "Republican takeover" doomsayers cry.

My support of Dump Obama is based on what I see as the need to build an independent force, within and without the Democratic Party, that can attempt to take on the underlying issues of a dying empire regardless of party in power.

I say this not to rehash arguments we've already had, but to move the conversation forward.  We do not have such an independent force at this point.  Developing the kernel of such an independent force does not equal "progressive victory."  It means at best the beginning of the real fight.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan

I agree with you. (4.00 / 1)
The system is what it is.  The only way to influence it is from the outside, e.g., K Street, NRA, tea baggers, 60s hippies.  We can't make them get it together until we can get ourselves together.  

[ Parent ]
Obama as "Tricky Dick" Nixon??? (0.00 / 0)
Well, look on the bright side. At least he's not "Pricky Dick" Cheney!

Obama as Nixon??? | 74 comments

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