Ah another one from Elisabeth Drew:
Barack Obama had an unfathomable inability, beginning in his early years in office, to grasp the difference between campaigning and governing—and for that he’s been paying a fearful price in his second term.
Ah another one from Elisabeth Drew:
Barack Obama had an unfathomable inability, beginning in his early years in office, to grasp the difference between campaigning and governing—and for that he’s been paying a fearful price in his second term.
Sentence of the day from Paul Krugman:
(...) anyone counting on Obamacare to collapse is probably making a very bad bet.
Of course Krugman is right, but the point remains that Obamacare is and will remain a canard boiteux; something liberals and many Democrats will defend to their death because it is a symbol of the blind faith they placed in the One even though it will never fix the American Health care system and a policy that all others will resist because to them it epitomizes government's meddling in an area it either can't help.
Well, thank you Obama for ruining the dream of Universal healthcare for America.
I agree with Julian Ku on this:
In other words, the problem is not that spying itself is illegal or morally wrong, but that it is illegal and morally wrong to spy on your allies and friends. Spying on other countries might very well be morally and legally justified (e.g.: North Korea, Iran, China, Russia ( ...) In any event, my prediction is that the fallout from the latest NSA scandal will be a flurry of “no-spy-on-you” promises and then a series of new “no spy agreements” for certain favored “allies”. I think Germany will talk about a universal anti-spying norm, but this initiative will eventually die largely because no large nation really wants it.
Was I just having a nightmare or didn't the One get a Nobel Peace prize just for not being George W Bush ? I'm sure it was a dream !
David Bernstein on why the rollout of Obamacare has been 'messy':
Why, it’s obviously because President Barack Obama and his top aides hate government, and therefore can’t be trusted to run a major government program. When the government is run by political forces committed to the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, that belief tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Key priorities are neglected; key functions are privatized; and key people, the competent public servants who make government work, either leave or are driven out. What we really need is a government that works, because it’s run by people who understand that sometimes government is the solution, after all.
Doesn’t make any sense to you? It made just as little sense when Paul Krugman made the argument in 2008, imaginatively (to say the least) positing that George W. Bush and John McCain were wild-eyed libertarians, and that the former’s purported libertarianism was the cause of FEMA’s incompetence in dealing with Katrina. (...) t must come as a surprise to Krugman and his defenders that government can prove itself to be wildly, disastrously incompetent even when run by people whom even Krugman would have to admit aren’t going to be confused with libertarians any time soon (assuming, of course, that Krugman actually ever believed the nonsense he wrote).
Bernstein is been willfully disingenuous to score cheap political points for actually the failings of the Obama administration on this issue and others make Krugman. They show that Obama, as Bush, believes more in winning than in government or for that matter governing. Obamacare has no soul, c'est un machin used to gain liberal cred through a symbol that makes lovers of Harry Potter like change good.
In short, Obama is not and has never been a Krugman democrat.
Governing America is a lot more challenging than seducing Oprah...Thank God That's great.
It should be puzzling just how little power the present executive is actually capable of wielding. He can go to the U.N. or Kansas City and make speeches (that themselves often enough implicitly cast him as a kind of interested observer of his own presidency), but nothing much that he says in Washington seems any longer to be seriously attended to. In the foreign policy arena, he is surrounded by a secretary of defense who ducks for cover, a secretary of state who wanders the world blowing off steam, and a national security advisor and U.N. ambassador who seem like blundering neophytes and whose basic ideological stance (in favor of American -- aka “humanitarian” -- interventions globally) has been rejected in this country by almost any constituency imaginable. Unlike previous presidents, he evidently has no one -- no Brent Scowcroft, Jim Baker, or even Henry Kissinger -- capable of working the corridors of power skillfully or bringing a policy home.Domestically, who ever heard of a presidency already into its second term that, according to just about all observers, has only one significant achievement -- Obamacare (whatever you think of it) -- and clearly hasn’t a hope in hell of getting a second one?
Jeff Shesol sums up perfectly the American policy on Syria:
Foreign policy-making, unlike the domestic variety, is rarely compared to sausage-making, but what we have seen over the past couple of news cycles should be inspected by the U.S.D.A.
I would love to be having whatever Andrew Sullivan for Obamaland must be Eden when one is high.
To mourn the end of summer or rather celebrate my return to blogging life, sugary excerpt of my hiatus from Sandy Levinson;
:For reasons known only to himself, President Obama has decided to risk his presidency on the outcome of the congressional vote. As I see it, the best way to assure the destruction of his second term is to authorize a strike that makes almost literally no sense in terms of the public rationales that have been offered. There is literally no measure of what might count as "success," other than deterring additional use of chemical weapons. Given that there is no evidence that Assad ordered the use of those weapons in the first place, one might well imagine that he will make some efforts to make sure they are not used again. (There is something particularly indecent about the Obama Administration claiming that Commanders-in-Chief must be held responsible per se, a reversion, it appears to the Yamashita doctrine right after World War II. This, of course, is the Administration that has resolutely refused to hold anyone from the Bush Administration responsible for what is at least equally banned by international and domestic law, i.e., torture, or, for that matter, to pursue members of the Bush I Administration for their toleration of Saddam Hussein's use of poison gas against Iran and then Iraqis. )
It is ominous that Obama's chief domestic support is coming from John ("I never met a war I didn't want to get into") McCain. We all live with (and are victimized by) analogies. I keep thinking of Vietnam, in which thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lost their lives in order to vindicate American "credibility" and fight against the perception that we were a "paper tiger."
Hum, well at least Cornel West is consistent. Is that a good thing? I don't know but he is onto something.
Whatever Obama was before, today he is an unsentimental practitioner of realpolitik, which has ruled in America for some time. One could be more specific: Obama's foreign policy lacks any emotional dimension. The president is led by pragmatism and interests, with limits being set, if need be, by international law. (...) Obama twists and turns and examines a foreign policy problem. After he has weighed all of the arguments, he then decides. That leads to a rational, and sometimes hesitant, but not empathetic foreign policy. (...) Paradoxically, Europeans, especially the Germans, have their problems with both presidents. They despise Bush as a supposedly dim-witted cowboy. But in the meantime, they have become leery of the coldly analytical Obama, who kills suspected terrorists with drones and lets his government monitor the Internet.
Ah the death of fine romances is always slow, painful, and crippling...
I agree with Professor Bainbridge on this:
Bush was bad enough, but Obama's not much better and in some ways worse. We seem to be living in a permanent security state that is gradually morphing into something disturbingly authoritarian. (...) We're losing the moral high ground to criticize places like Russia and China, as we allow our freedoms to continually erode.
In truth Mr Obama’s problems extend well beyond the confines of the capital’s Beltway. The president’s headache is that his winning majority resembles the hamlet in “Brigadoon”. It exists all right, twice sending him to the White House. But, like that Highland village, it is hard to see or touch most of the time. (...) The magic at the heart of Mr Obama’s two victories was his ability to expand the electorate itself, mobilising sporadic voters who shun politics most of the time, notably the young and minorities. Now that he is no longer on the ballot, his loose coalition risks being no match for the intense ideologues who fight and oversee Washington’s partisan battles.
From Vali Nasr, author of a new book on Obama's foreign policy The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat:
The White House was ever afraid that the young Democratic president would be seen as ‘soft’ (...) It did not want to try anything as audacious as diplomacy. It was an art lost on America’s top decision makers.
From Denis Lacorne:
The most popular French politician is Barack Obama. Nearly 80 percent of the French would vote for him if they were given the opportunity! The traditional, white, Catholic or secular elites are not really representative of the new French reality: an immigrant society, in which traditional religions are fast disappearing; an ethnically and religiously pluralistic society, which finds more affinities with a black U.S. president than with native, white French presidents. But French society is not as race conscious as its American counterpart. Barack Obama sees himself as an "African American," and this is the category he chose in the 2010 Census form that was submitted to him. For the French, who prohibit the use of racial categories in the census, Obama is simply un métis, a mestizo, a multiracial individual, like many young Frenchmen. He is, in other words, "one of us."
From Helen Epstein :
The administration’s neglect of human rights in Africa is a great disappointment, since the president began his first term by laying out ambitious new goals for the continent. In July 2009, when his presidency was only six months old, Barack Obama delivered a powerful speech at Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, the point from which millions of African slaves were shipped across the Atlantic. He called on African countries to end the tyranny of corruption that affects so many of their populations, and to build strong institutions that serve the people and hold leaders accountable. The speech seemed to extend the message of his much-discussed Cairo address a month earlier, in which he called for a new beginning for Muslim relations with the West, based on non-violence and mutual respect. Many thought that the policies of the new president, himself of Kenyan descent, would depart from those of the Bush administration, which provided a great deal of development aid to Africa, but paid scant attention to human rights.After more than four years in office, however, Obama has done little to advance the idealistic goals of his Ghana speech.
Oh Well as the one himself once said words matter and the trouble here starts with the fact that having an 'african' policy doesn't mean much for there is no africa. Moreover, the saddest fact is that reality when it comes to Obama's deeds in countries on the african continent doesn't matter because of the worst and most dangerous anti-intellectual form of identity politics.
I bet that at least some Nigeriens are happy to have a drone base in Niamey.
I disagree partly with Professor Bainbridge on this:
Obviously, Obama is no socialist. But ask me if I think he's a (surprisingly militaristic) social democrat and you'll get an affirmative answer, which in my book makes him a lot more of a liberal on domestic issues than any other modern Democratic president.
I don't think Obama's militarism is surprising at all for it takes guts, audacity to be anything else these days in American presidential politics and Obama is only audacious in his speeches; furthermore Obama's liberalism is both a fantasy and an glitzy accessory used to keep him fashionable.
Sugary excerpt of the day from Conor Friedersdorf:
Obama and [John] Brennan may both be more thoughtful men than most, as their supporters argue. The problem with both is their excessive trust in their own judgment. A prudent person does not trust himself with the unchecked power to kill in secret, nor does he trust the executive branch with so extreme an unchecked power in a system constructed around checks and balances.
Our era is the one of Me so nothing new here.
From Arundhati Roy:
What good are weapons if they aren’t going to be used in wars? Weapons are absolutely essential; it’s not just for oil or natural resources, but for the military-industrial complex itself to keep going that we need weapons.
Today, as we speak, the U.S., and perhaps China and India, are involved in a battle for control of the resources of Africa. Thousands of U.S. troops, as well as death squads, are being sent into Africa. The “Yes We Can” president has expanded the war from Afghanistan into Pakistan. There are drone attacks killing children on a regular basis there.
Well, America and the world for that matter love charlatans who are solely great orators!
From Glenn Greenwald:
Political leaders and political movements convinced of their own Goodness are usually those who need greater, not fewer, constraints in the exercise of power. That's because - like religious True Believers - those who are convinced of their inherent moral superiority can find all manner to justify even the most corrupted acts on the ground that they are justified by the noble ends to which they are put, or are cleansed by the nobility of those perpetrating those acts.
Political factions driven by self-flattering convictions of their own moral superiority - along with their leaders - are the ones most likely to abuse power. Anyone who ever listened to Bush era conservatives knows that this conviction drove them at their core ("you are with us or with the Terrorists"), and it is just as true of Obama-era progressives who genuinely see the political landscape as an overarching battle between forces of Good (Democrats: i.e., themselves) and forces of Evil (Republicans).
Well, four more years...Bush + Obama = ?
I agree with professor Bainbridge on this:
After all, the moral distance between Bush and Obama has gotten quite narrow.
Sugary excerpt of the day from Democracy in America :
The Obama administration could not rationally have believed it would have derived any benefit from inaccurately claiming the attack on the Benghazi consulate grew out of a demonstration; why on earth would they engage in a cover-up of something that makes no difference?
Sugary excerpt from Philip Delves Broughton:
Perhaps the greatest shock of his second term will be the hardening realisation that Obama’s reality is not his rhetoric. He is a very mainstream, and not uncommonly partisan Democratic haggler, who will become more so the longer he stays in office.
I have to admit that it is hard to accept the fact that America doesn't like reality. Sometimes, I wish that Amerians were more French than they are and can probably ever be.
From Sean Collins at Spiked:
In a campaign devoid of ideas, people fell back on identity. Obama’s victory was a victory for the Democrats’ strategy of winning on social values and cohering support among women and minorities, an approach which was very pronounced at their national convention in September.
Identity politics is very much the present and the future of not only American politics, but of world politics. That said, I think Obama's victory was impressive!
From llya Somin:
Obama’s reelection victory cements the idea that having an African-American president is normal.
Ah America and its love of symbols to avoid hard work and harsh/difficult questions!
I never agree with Erick Dickinson, but this is a special night and he is right when he says this:
The Obama campaign ran a very good campaign. The Republicans did not. There was no fraud. There was no stealing the election. There was just a really good ground game from Barack Obama and a lot of smoke and mirrors from Team Romney and outside charlatans, many of whom will now go work for Republican Super PACs making six figure salaries, further draining the pockets of rich Republicans when not on television explaining how awesome and expert they are. Whether you can bring yourself to say it or not, like it or not, Barack Obama is, today, your President.
Obama is the POTUS, I wish he wasn't so, but it is, accepting it is essential for a healthier political debate in America
So? I have no idea, but Obama kicked Romney's you know what by showing him that he may not be able to run a country, but he knows how to run a campaign. I'm impressed!
For the sake of the US, let's hope Obama II is better than Obama I.
Wow, I expected it to be closer. I guess Romney just learned that to be inauthentic and successful in politics, you have to be a transcendent figure and be willing to stand for something.
From Ana Marie Cox:
The No 1 force moving America forward is the inertia of tiny gains. But, by golly, those add up: there's a black man in the White House – and that can never ever be undone.
Ahh the soft bigotry of little dreams and symbolic nothings as George W. Bush might have said!
From Mickey Kaus:
I’ve never written this before, but it’s hard not to be annoyed at the allegedly neoliberal Chicago-born journalists (including some of my friends) who helped foist Obama on the nation. Wasn’t it clear to them, as it is to us now, that he didn’t have the experience you’d want a president to have? It’s not just that he didn’t realize there were no “shovel ready” projects, as he jokingly admitted to one of the Chicagoans, Jonathan Alter. (Ha ha! So funny.) It’s that he hadn’t acquired a capacity for legislative wheedling or a facility for public explication. He was promoted too far too fast (yes, because of his race. Duh.). Worse, as Peggy Noonan notes, he has shown little public inclination to admit error or adjust course (though I’ve heard some slightly more encouraging stories from ex-aides).
Kaus is right except that quoting Noonan obscures and cheapens his argument.
Obama is Monsieur What if, that incredible athlete who got there because he scored the goal that won the game, has an amazing personal story, became the One because he seized the day, but is never going to have the time to reach his potential as an athlete because he will be out of the game when he has matured because fate made him an offer he could not refuse.
Obama is going to make an awesome former president tomorrow (not going to happen), but more than likely four years from now.
Silver has repeatedly, and not very convincingly, tried to explain his percentage forecasts in the context of a football game: Romney is behind, but could still win with a last-minute touchdown. The problem with this metaphor — as, of course, Silver has acknowledged — is that we don't actually know the score of the game. We're standing outside the stadium and guessing the score based on crowd noise. So the source of uncertainty resides at least as much in the potential for mismeasurement as in the potential for last-minute game changers.
What Silver's 80.9% forecast technically means is that, if the Obama-Romney 2012 election were contested 1000 times, he thinks Obama would win 809 of them. This is a way of thinking derived from games of chance, which is where modern ideas about probability originated. In poker or blackjack or roulette or craps, you can (until you run out of money) repeat many iterations of the same gamble. But this particular election is only being contested once. So the closest approximation to the games-of-chance approach would be to expect that, if Silver forecasts four-fifths odds of victory in five different elections, he should correctly pick the winner four times. That's a ridiculously tiny sample size, though. You'd really want to look at dozens or hundreds of elections to judge Silver's reliability. Maybe, if he keeps doing this for another couple of decades, we'll be able to judge him by that standard. In the meantime, it's Silver's reasoning that probably offers the best clues to whether his forecasts are credible.
I agree with both Silver and Fox.
From Clive Crook:
(...) if Obama loses this election, it won't be for what many will say are the obvious reasons -- because the economy is weak and Obama's an African-American. It'll be because he ran as a failed progressive rather than a successful centrist.
I don't even think that Obama is a successful centrist, although he is for sure not a progressive...
From Howard W. French:
And across Africa, a feeling of letdown at the Obama administration’s lack of engagement with the continent is palpable. Because of his background, expectations were higher for the incumbent president in this regard than they have been for perhaps any of his predecessors.
After a rousing early trip to Ghana in the summer of 2009, where he praised that fast-growing country’s maturing democracy and summoned African leaders to serve their populations better Obama has all but abandoned direct personal engagement with the sub-Saharan portion of the continent, squandering his great potential for strong personal connections with the continent and the soft power benefits that go with it.
This is more than a personal story, though. The reason why American leaders tend to ignore Africa is linked to a traditional belief, deeply seated in our foreign policy establishment’s mindset, that the United States has no vital interests in the continent. An important associated thought is that Africa can only and forever be a burden, with the US called upon to foot the bill when major crises erupt there.
Africa isn't a country! That is the essential part of the problem. Howard French, Barack Obama and most Americans and people think that it is.
Best comment on last night's debate from Gregor Peter Schmitz over at Spiegel:
Romney and Obama exchanged carefully prepared platitudes as though they were trapped in a world order created for them by White House predecessor George W. Bush.(...) Indeed, it appears as though Stevens' death in election year 2012 has been enough to overshadow the killing of Osama bin Laden and several other top terrorists from al-Qaida and other networks. It has been enough to keep America fixated on the war on terror and preoccupied with the Middle East.
The paradox of this fixation shown by both candidates is that neither Obama nor Romney have shown a real interest in the Muslim world. Despite overtures early in his term, the president did little thereafter to ensure that progress was made. The only regional issue that appears to be high on his priority list is Iran's nuclear program. Romney's plan for the region appears to consist almost entirely of unconditional support for Israel. Both candidates want to continue using drones unhindered.
There is so much cause for concern and the scariest thing is the paralysis of the American media.
I agree totally with Tony Junod on this:
We have been told, many times, that each killing carried out by the administration is accompanied by vigorous and even agonized debate about its legality, advisability, efficacy, and morality. That debate, however has remained staunchly internal — has remained secret — and it has become clear that the only way to find out what our two presidential candidates think about the implications of the Lethal Presidency is to ask them, tonight, at the debate in Florida. President Obama has limited his comments to all but the most self-serving circumstance, and Governor Romney has spoken only through inference and through the often confounding comments of his foreign-policy surrogates. Bob Schieffer should know that if he does not ask a question about targeted killing tonight, he is — we are — unlikely to get another chance.
Unfortunately,the main concern of most journalists and of most Americans is to protect America by whichever means necessary. Thus, until Americans feel secure, they are going to be willing to let the president do whatever it takes to keep them safe even if they sense that the means used are wrong and will mean apologizing and regretting them in the future.
Interesting stuff from Jennifer Vanasco:
Most every story covering the debate mentioned how Romney’s “binders full of women” instantly became a social media meme, including a snarky Tumblr, an anti-Romney Facebook page, a website bought by a Democratic group, and a proliferation of original songs or mashups on YouTube.
Some good reporting from the Associated Press revealed that Romney actually didn’t ask for those resumes - instead, he was approached by the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project, a coalition of women’s groups that had requested and culled them because they were trying to boost “the number of women in top state government jobs.” However, a terrific Washington Post opinion piece explored why, even if Romney had requested the binders, the fact that he didn’t know any qualified women offhand from his days at Bain Capital suggests that he thinks of women as token hires. Writer Jena McGregor says that his answer during the debate gave the impression “that he thinks such groups [as MassGAP] hold the keys to special ‘binders full of women’ who can’t otherwise be found through normal human-resources channels such as leadership development programs, succession plans, and internal and external recruiting.’”
My only question about the issue is whether acknowledging the problem isn't as important as trying to fix it. The question is in my view critical because I believe that both parties treat women as children who can vote and who will always value candy (pun intended) over anything else
. It may be small of me, but I don't believe that just because Obama is pro-choice and pro-equal pa he is more pro-women (what does that mean?) than Romney.
Today Obama follows Clinton's path as another useful idiot of Wall Street, relying on their stoolie Tim Geithner for his hands-off policies towards the big banks.I like to repeat a little too much my contenton that Obama represents Clintonism with a black multiracial face and that the problem with that is that we are not in 1992 and that he hasn't learned from the failures of Clintonism because he doesn't have to...
So where is the real progressive alternative to Obama's GOP-lite policies?
What about the second debate? Well before its start, I wrote:
Obama will be proclaimed just seconds after the end of the debate, the comeback kid unless the sky falls over or Derek Jeter miraculously recovers and leads the Yankees to a win over the Tigers.
I was right, but the most disturbing aspect of it all is the predictability of the post-debate commentary, which just drowns out the already meager substance of the process. I hated the format and the fact that the candidates were debating in New York instead of a swing state. But at least, Robert Wright is happy.
So? Obama still has a slight edge for until Romney proves that he can win Ohio, he will just have to accept that he is going to lose a close race.
I agree with John Holbo on this:
[Ezra] Klein asks: when did Obama lose ‘the vision thing’? He thinks Obama had it in 2008, but it’s worth considering the counter-hypothesis that it was lost long before. Free and Cantril documented loss of liberal mojo in their 1967 book, based on survey data from the 1964 election. ‘Americans are philosophical conservatives but operational liberals.’ If that’s how it goes in 2012, that just goes to show how it goes, for the past half century.
So Obama has to do two things on Tuesday: (1) convert the new "smooth, sure footed Mitt" meme into the "suspiciously slick Mitt" meme--get Romney's energetic, articulate self-assurance, which so wowed people in the first debate, to start creeping them out; and (2) drive home the "heartless plutocrat" meme in spades.
Honestly, I think that Obama is going to be great tonight, but I think that what matters is how good or bad Romney will/appear to be comparing to him. If the question after the debate is about Romney's inability to relate then he 'lost' the debate, but if it is about the fact that he didn't cede any ground to the Potus, then he will be fine until he loses barely on election night.
My prediction: Obama will be proclaimed just seconds after the end of the debate, the comeback kid unless the sky falls over or Derek Jeter miraculously recovers and leads the Yankees to a win over the Tigers.
I agree with Walter Meade on this:
But there is a larger failure in Libya. Just as George W. Bush couldn’t dodge responsibility for the decision to go to war in Iraq on the basis of nukes that never showed up, President Obama owns the Libya mess in which the attack in Bengazi was just an incident—as Abu Ghraib was an incident in Bush’s war. Libya, thankfully, is nowhere near as big of a mess as Iraq, but even as President Obama mulls the possibility of retaliatory strikes, it’s not clear that we won’t get sucked further in. And if anything, this president should have learned from Bush’s experience in Iraq: overthrowing governments in the Middle East when you don’t know what comes next is a dangerous hobby.
Clinton can’t deflect final responsibility for that decision from President Obama, and she can’t cover over the mess that has the United States now puzzling over how to fight Al Qaeda and its allies in Mali as well as in Libya — or how to respond to the increase in terrorist strength in Niger and Nigeria to boot. This is a real mess and a serious one, and it flows from a set of poor decisions that the President and no other person made.
Why do I have the feeling that this is the beginning of something awful precisely because American foreign policy is just manufactured badly?
From Lexington, a scene at an Obama Rally:
Just before the president spoke, a hip-hop singer and producer, will.i.am, popped up on a small podium to the side of the main stage, nattily turned out in a velvet smoking jacket, pale bowtie, tight jeans and tartan, crested slippers.
It requires a certain swagger to pull off such a look in broad daylight, in front of a crowd of 15,000 people who mostly came to hear a political speech, but he pulled it off, mixing very loud dance tracks with calls to re-elect the president and suggestions that America should invest in education in order to gain market share in high-tech manufacturing. “I want my iPhone made in the USA, I want my computer made in the USA,” he chanted. “I want my education made in the USA.” At this point, sensing a muted reaction from the crowd, he stopped the music, and challenged his audience. You don’t want your education made in the USA, he demanded to know? Here of all places? (...)At the grassy oval of OSU in Columbus, the musician was encountering a different reaction. “Four more, four more, four more years,” called the singer from his podium, urging the crowd to chant and raise their hands. Only scattered hands rose. Many more remained stolidly watchful. Only a few children danced with abandon to the music, scampering around a fenced-off lawn. Four more years is a less stirring rallying cry that “yes we can”, especially after a first term in which even staunch Obama partisans have learned that, in the real world, their idol often cannot.
The saddest thing about it all is that America remains the land where people seriously and faithfully believe that a billionaire can marry a hooker and live happily ever after or that a politician can magically transform a country without citizens doing any of the hard work.
Ian Leslie demonstrates that Obamabots and Obamaniacs are mostly spoiled brats who can't stand disappointment and failure:
It must have been hard for the people who have been busting guts to get him reelected, and who have done such an exceptional job to get him into pole position, to watch their candidate step in and screw it up all by himself. It must be depressing for all the volunteers in swing states who have been knocking on doors and throwing themselves into a cause for which they feel, in their heart of hearts, less enthusiastic than they did last time - because it turns out the man on whose behalf they're working appears even less enthusiastic than they are.
An Obama email to supporters this week was entitled "I can't do this on my own". To which Andrew Sullivan, one of the president's most influential and passionate supporters in the media, replied, "Oh, yes you can, Mr President. You just did. All by yourself. And we watched you live."
Come on! Obama is neither perfect nor exceptional! Get over already it and accept his faults! Give the guy a break, he is just another bad president not Michael Jordan refusing to play basketball to be a baseball player!
Sugary excerpt of the day from Hendrik Hertzberg:
All the evidence indicates that Romney has no “core beliefs” beyond a gauzy assumption that the business of America is business and an unshakable, utterly sincere conviction that he, Mitt Romney, ought to be President, deserves to be President, and, for the sake of the country, must be President. His ideological rootlessness, which excites the mistrust of the Republican hard right, is what makes him the most dangerous opponent Obama could have drawn.
Interesting for what Hertzberg expresses is my belief about Obama: the conviction that he has no or rather few core political beliefs.
But to address the real issue, I think that neither Romney nor Obama are ideologues and that the biggest differences between them is about how comfortable they are at faking it. Obama fakes extremely well and is worshipped for it while Romney doesn't and is accused of being an arrogant and empty rich guy. I'm on the side of the guy who, at the very least, doesn't make America cheer for mediocrity because it is flashy and comforting.
More reasons to love Glenn Loury (the father) and to realize that great people tend to raise decent children!
Words of the morning from llya Somin on last night's presidential debate:
(...)by nominating the father of Romneycare, the GOP cost itself an opportunity to attack the most politically vulnerable part of Obamacare. That’s what happens when, as economist Bryan Caplan once put it, the Republicans nominate the John the Baptist of Obamacare to run against the program’s Jesus Christ.
Because he was never believed to be god or his son, John the Baptist would have made a better American president than jesus.
Presidential debates don't matter for they are too manufactured. Their impact is minimal at best for both the media and voters have attention deficit disorder and will focus as soon as they can on the next shinny object , a gaffe, a poorly constructed and thought out scene or whatever else will feed their need to be stimulated and to prove their biases and presumptions right.
Thus, I am counting the hours before the next hysteria over a Romney gaffe that will once again mean that he has already lost the election.
I agree with this old quote of Ilya Somin re-quoting himself because it is still pertinent:
In a weird way, critics like D’Souza and West have much in common with the enthusiastic Obama supporters who in 2008 believed that Obama represented a fundamental break with politics as we know it. Both groups assume that the president is a lot more special than he actually is.
Tthe most irritating thing about Obama is actually that belief, which overcomes reality that he is special and the one for reasons that have nothing with what he does, but with what he is supposed to symbolize.
Sugary excerpt of the day from Henry Farrell over at Crooked Timber:
On key foreign policy and human rights issues, Obama hasn’t been a disappointment. He’s been a disaster. You can make a good case, obviously, that his main opponent, Mitt Romney, would be even worse. But it isn’t at all clear that the consequences of voting for Romney over the longer term, would be any worse than the consequences of voting for the guy who was supposed to be better on these issues, and was not. Indeed, the unwillingness of American left-liberals to criticize the opprobrious foreign policy of a Democratic president (and the consequent lack of real public debate over this policy, since most of the right tacitly agrees with the bad stuff) weighs the balance in favor of voting against Democrats who you know are going to sell out.
I have to say that the fact that the election coverage, so far, is done as if Obama doesn't have a record and as if he was the (sugar) pill that Americans have to swallow to cleanse their country's soul drives me nuts.
Sugary excerpt of the day from Stanley Fish commenting on the dishonest, vile and more importantly willfully stupidly ideological 'documentary' on Obama from Dinesh D'Souza who must have perfected at Dartmouth what seems to come naturally to him, prostitution :
(...) the meaning of America is continually contested in essays, books, backyard conversations, talk shows and, most of all, in elections. It is often said, and it is true, that the opposing parties in an election have “different visions for America.” There are many ways of describing the alternative visions offered to us in a year like this; but describing one of them as un-American and its proponent as a foreign intruder is not to further discussion but to foreclose it and to replace the contest of ideas with the rhetoric of demonization. (Democrats have been as guilty of this as anyone.) Obama may have a vision for America that you don’t like, but it is a vision for America put forward by an American. If you don’t like it, vote against him, not in the name of Americanism but in the name of the ideas and outcomes you, also an American, prefer.
In short, Obama is as American as apple pie. Unfortunately that fact isn't enough to make him a good president.
I found it thought-provoking, compelling and even morbidly ironic that Obama is considered "foreign," European, and even socialist when it is Mitt Romney who spent critical parts of his youth in France. It tells me that Romney is actually more worldly than Obama and that fact explains, in great part, in my opinion, his obvious discomfort with his political 'family.'
Two quotes on Obama's kill list and assassination powers.
The first from Glenn Greenwald:
In fairness to Obama, he did campaign on a promise of change, and vesting the President with the power to order the execution of citizens in secret and with no oversight certainly qualifies as that. (...)to summarize the Obama campaign’s apparent argument: it’s absolutely vital that we know all about the GOP nominee’s tax shelters and financial transactions over the last decade (and indeed, we should know about that), but we need not bother ourselves with how the Democratic nominee is deciding which Americans should die, his claimed legal authority for ordering those hits, the alleged evidence for believing the target deserves to be executed, or the criteria used to target them. So low are one’s expectations for an American Election Year that there are very few spectacles so absurd as to be painful to behold, but the Obama campaign’s waving of the transparency flag definitely qualifies.
The second from Joseph Lelyveld:
Just how is a president supposed to take on terrorists thousands of miles away whom he believes to be targeting the country he’s sworn to protect in a constitutional manner? Should he file an extradition request with the government in Islamabad or, as Bill Clinton did before September 11 but after the attacks on the USS Cole and the embassies in East Africa, lob cruise missiles from the Arabian Sea and hope for the best?
To settle this debate, we only have to quote Karl Marx or rather to use a Marx's quote used by Camus in the Rebel:
An end which requires unjustified means is no justifiable end.
At last Walter Mead says what I have been saying for 4 years, Obama is a WASP:
In his own way, however, President Obama is one of the neo-Waspiest men in the country. He is not a product of Kenyan villages or third world socialism. He was educated at the Hawaiian equivalent of a New England prep school, and spent his formative years in the Ivies. He has much more in common with Harvard-educated technocrats like McGeorge Bundy than with African freedom fighters and third world socialists of the 1970s.
Barack Obama is neither a citizen of the world nor an exotic creature, he is as American as Georges Bush!
I agree with Marbury on this:
Obama is a preacher, not a persuader. He's terrific if you already agree with him, but doesn't have much impact on those who don't.
It is hard to be touched by Jesus when people keep asserting that he is a god not a man!