Friday, May 23, 2014

Barry-O Goes Full Driftglass. Finally.

And the day-late-and-a-dollar-short award for finally figuring out how media and politics works in these United States goes to...

...the President of these United States.

Morning Plum: Obama slams ‘false equivalence’ media

May 23 at 9:26 am

At a fundraiser last night, President Obama unleashed a surprisingly spirited and comprehensive attack on both-sides-to-blame media coverage. While he has taken issue with Beltway coverage before, what was particularly noteworthy this time is that he made the case that “false equivalence” coverage is fundamentally misleading in the sense that it obscures the basic imbalance that currently exists between the two parties.

It’s worth quoting at length (per the White House transcript):
“You’ll hear if you watch the nightly news or you read the newspapers that, well, there’s gridlock, Congress is broken, approval ratings for Congress are terrible. And there’s a tendency to say, a plague on both your houses. But the truth of the matter is that the problem in Congress is very specific. We have a group of folks in the Republican Party who have taken over who are so ideologically rigid, who are so committed to an economic theory that says if folks at the top do very well then everybody else is somehow going to do well; who deny the science of climate change; who don’t think making investments in early childhood education makes sense; who have repeatedly blocked raising a minimum wage so if you work full-time in this country you’re not living in poverty; who scoff at the notion that we might have a problem with women not getting paid for doing the same work that men are doing.

“They, so far, at least, have refused to budge on bipartisan legislation to fix our immigration system, despite the fact that every economist who’s looked at it says it’s going to improve our economy, cut our deficits, help spawn entrepreneurship, and alleviate great pain from millions of families all across the country.

“So the problem…is not that the Democrats are overly ideological — because the truth of the matter is, is that the Democrats in Congress have consistently been willing to compromise and reach out to the other side. There are no radical proposals coming out from the left. When we talk about climate change, we talk about how do we incentivize through the market greater investment in clean energy. When we talk about immigration reform there’s no wild-eyed romanticism. We say we’re going to be tough on the borders, but let’s also make sure that the system works to allow families to stay together…

“When we talk about taxes we don’t say we’re going to have rates in the 70 percent or 90 percent when it comes to income like existed here 50, 60 years ago. We say let’s just make sure that those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this country are giving back to kids so that they’re getting a good start in life, so that they get early childhood education…Health care — we didn’t suddenly impose some wild, crazy system. All we said was let’s make sure everybody has insurance. And this made the other side go nuts — the simple idea that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody should go bankrupt because somebody in their family gets sick, working within a private system.

“So when you hear a false equivalence that somehow, well, Congress is just broken, it’s not true. What’s broken right now is a Republican Party that repeatedly says no to proven, time-tested strategies to grow the economy, create more jobs, ensure fairness, open up opportunity to all people.”
Without a doubt, the greatest overarching failure of the Obama Administration was squandering the opportunity to marshal public disgust with the criminal and criminally incompetent Bush Administration in order drive the lunatics and bigots and black-shirts who run the GOP into the political wilderness; to make being a modern "Republican" the source of shame that it should be, and to cut off the retreat of the Bush Regime Dead Enders by calling out the so-call Tea Party movement (There.  Is.  No.  Tea. Party) for the Koch-funded, Fox-endored wingnut rebranding sham that it always was.

But that never happened.

Instead, the Right awoke on inauguration day to find to their astonishment that the Democratic President who the had sworn to destroy was, in the name of Holy Bipartisanship, perfectly willing to let them get right in close with their knives all the way out, while giving his Liberal base the cold souljah on the off chance it would gain him a modicum of Republican cooperation and respect.

Of course, that never happened either.  

Yes, it did earn him plaudits...from Beltway Centrist hucksters like David Brooks for whom bipartisanship means everyone agreeing to let the Right (as I wrote one million years ago in 2005):
...[run] the same scam on you buffoons over and over again. No matter how batshit crazy their position is, you’ll concede half the stage, half the clock and give them the benefit of the doubt. Which give them an automatic victory. They showed up at the table with little more that bad-acid delusions, and now the control 50% of the battlefield because you defaulted it right into their laps.

And when you don’t completely capitulate to 100% of their insanity, they turn right around and feed that into their own Pravada Media as Further Proof of the evil left wing media conspiracy.

“Victim,” they shriek. “Anti-religious Bigot!” They rant this from the rooftops because of the tiny bit of sane ground you did not surrender...and you jellied eels dependably cave in even more.

And thus they have led you – and the rest of the nation you whose common interests you were supposed to be serving -- by these half measures, right into the foyer of your own slaughterhouse.

It’s really quite an amazing story. Too bad we don’t have a press anymore to report it.

Meanwhile, over in the actual Republican party, this is the kind of respect and cooperation which President Obama's repeated bipartisan overtures and sacrifices got him:

This went on for far, far too long and a lot of Liberals understandably gave up giving second changes to a President who routinely ignored them in favor of groveling for the approval of people who hated him axiomatically   And the day came when President Obama finally pushed back oh-so-slightly on the fire-hose of bile and rage and premeditated economic sabotage that is now the default setting of the Party of Lincoln...

The Man Who Mistook His President for a Hat

Do you really want to hurt me
Do you really want to make me cry
Precious kisses, words that burn me
Lovers never ask you why

So Our Mr. Brooks is "a sap"
Yes, I’m a sap. I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around.

So the White House has moved away from the Reasonable Man approach or the centrist Clinton approach.

It has gone back, as an appreciative Ezra Klein of The Washington Post conceded, to politics as usual. The president is sounding like the Al Gore for President campaign, but without the earth tones. Tax increases for the rich! Protect entitlements! People versus the powerful!
because he wanted President Obama to stay in Centrist Neverland, playing Very Serious Moderate Pirate games with him and Tinkerbell
The president’s goal in 2012, I suggested, would be to try to paint himself as the moderate bipartisan grownup, and dismiss the Republicans as extreme, intransigent, and hyper-ideological.

Based on the actual details of the deficit plan that the administration just released, though, I would like to retract that analysis. Between the size, scope and design of the tax increases and the skimpiness of the entitlement reforms (nothing on Social Security, minimal tinkering on Medicare), it seems that the president will be running for re-election as Nancy Pelosi instead.
and all the other bloated, corrupt and inexplicably still-employed
Barack Obama is careening down the wrong path towards re-election.
He should be working as a president, not a candidate.
He should be claiming the vital center, not abandoning it.
He should be holding down taxes rather than raising them.
Lost Boys, forever and ever...

...and then, one day, the President had to finally face the very ugly fact that the GOP -- Our Mr. Brooks' GOP -- is actually completely mad, intractably evil and deeply committed to annihilating what's left of our country and laying their fascist eggs in its still-warm corpse.

Which at long last compelled the President the leave Centrist Neverland, at least for a moment.

Which, in turn, reduced Our Mr. Brooks to weeping hysterics.

So sad.
And then, three years later, the President of the United States finally took official notice of the wretched truth-that-dare-not-speak-its-name about which a ragged band of disreputable Liberal bloggers had been shouting for at least a decade: that our craven, lavishly-compensated Beltway media is the eager and indispensable abettor of every Conservative fraud, every Conservative lie and every act of calculated Conservative treachery.

Finally this truth has been spoken in public be someone who cannot be ignored.

I don't believe it will make the slightest difference, but as future generations look back on our age and try to figure out how the hell we fucked up so badly, maybe one of them will note that, once again, those damn "Liberals" were right all along.

For more, I commend "The Devil and the Deep Blue Left" from 2010 to the attention of our future historians:
For his entire adult life, Barack Obama has succeeded by offering himself as the perfect midpoint between others. As a mathematical function, not a leader. As an averaging equation, not a true believer.

Sinced he showed up on the political radar, he has marketed himself relentlessly as
Half black and half white...
Half American urbanite, half world-citizen...
Half wonk, half preacher...
Half Harvard Yard, half Back o' the Yards...
Half red and half blue...
And this bone-deep reflex -- plus his formidable intellect and ability to rise to the rhetorical occasion -- would have prepared him perfectly for the Presidency...if this were 1960.

But it is not 1960 -- nor is he dealing with Harvard Conservatives pals or Springfield Republican pols -- and being a results-agnostic "process guy" when the process is utterly broken no longer works.


ron wilton said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah, buddy.

Robt said...

I definitely appreciate a high intensity rant. Just deserves in the three course meal style.

When it comes to Brooks, you have a diligent focus.

When it comes to the President reaching out, I think of it as projection to the media.
It has payed some dividends.
I hear there are GOP'ers that screech out loud of the Kenyan usurper while privately do not.
I can not provide evidence of this, which only allows for me to believe who they tell me they are.

You do understand what the vast right wing would do with the video and audio of an irate-angry black President?
You understand what Hank Aron had to endure for those that might come after?
Yes this is a different scenario...........

The difference a majority would make in the House and Senate for the President?
It seems to me that the Obama has employed many of the correct tones that forced the right's into their boxed ideology for all to see.

WI wonder where Jonah Goldberg rate on the Brooks-ie scale?

My question is why are so many Americans willing to buy that big gulp of cool aid and slam it down.
If Americans showed up and voted in 2010 for the President. The House would not be in this state and the Senate and it's filibuster fever would be on a diet.
The Gerrymandering would not have been installed for the next ten years.

But the President didn't close Guantanamo like he said , when the GOP House Majority would not appropriate a dime to do it. The whining over no single payer. The slow move to end "don't ask don't tell" Just so slow!
So We left him with a slight majority in the Senate and a minority in the House to work with.
voters did this.
Brooks is like the symptom of the alcoholic disease. Once you stop the drinking, you then need to address the character defects that causes the abuse cycle.

Yastreblyansky said...

The Peter Pan trope is really powerful. Hope those boys find a mother soon.

Mister Roboto said...

Well, assuming that the president doesn't back down from this once "Fox and Friends" start squeeeealing like the little piggies they are in response, this does at least make it easier to take him seriously as the leader of his party (as opposed to making it difficult not to wonder if he is actually a mole in the employ of the other party).

I had three reactionaries from my high-school days on my Facebook Friends list for a while that I ended up deleting and blocking. In that time, I learned that you just fucking don't play nice with people who are that nucking futs and willfully st00pid in the world of actual politics. If they're going to scream like howler-monkeys no matter what you do, then you really give them something to scream about, and you make sure you enjoy doing so!

But we'll just have to see if this means that the party that nearly always strives to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and to back down in situations demanding backbone, has finally decided to stop playing the enabling codependent abused spouse.

karen said...

One of your best. Visuals are super. Thanks.

gratuitous said...

So, is this a new direction, a theme that the President will return to and force the media to focus on? Or is this another one-off?

As much as I hate the Republicans, they hammer and hammer and hammer on a point until even their adversaries wind up repeating it. One cranky peroration at a fundraiser isn't going to make much of a difference. Yes, it's encouraging, but unless there's some follow-through, it will be of limited effect.

milegrinder said...

Five years, four months, three days to call this out. Quick study, this guy.

Anonymous said...

I used to have a recording on my phone of Mike Malloy reading that Oliver Sacks' piece. The problem with Brooks is he doesn't have that feeling tone.

Unknown said...

Awesome and astute observations – love the rant.

Sadly, I think the Pres is just as astute - at observing and oration; he certainly isn’t an accomplished achiever. Even his signature effort for which he was to be immortalized was a side-show of cooperative failure.

And the GOP will likely rebound on us all, beginning with the midterm elections then a probable seat in the big office with the window too, leaving us with his only true accomplishment – that of weakening the liberal cause. Perhaps he should’ve kept on dancing while Clinton stayed at the pulpit.

Why fight when the foe is willing to kill fall on his own sword at the first engagement?? The GOP must have holes worn in their pants crotches from laughin and scrathcin til it hurts.

Professional Left Podcast #690

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