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NQ has a post up about the mini battle between Roger Ailes and Arianna Huffington. Ms. Huffington's issue du jour is the "hate" language she perceives from people like Glenn Beck. I suppose one could easily find words to prove her point. Ailes responds with the obvious - her site is full of inflammatory nonsense and has been since it began. Again, easy to find examples. Any decent soul who spent 30 seconds at Huffpo in 2008 came away needing a Karen Silkwood scrub down.
At this point, I'm adjusted to ridiculous straw men from buffoons like Huffington. Ailes I have little invested in -but he's at least somewhat intellectually consistent. Glenn Beck isn't sold as a smug, know it all, genius. Whereas the Huffington Post is the national repository of smug hysteria. She has no standing to call out Fox on language or hysteria. She's stupid to bring this up. The Huffington Post not only has never taken the high road - it doesn't even own a map that contains the high road.
Huffington needs a windmill to tilt at. Obama adoration is spent. Hope and change has sunk into its creepy, weird nostalgia phase- like pop rocks or Madonna. It mattered once for reasons no one can quite remember and no one will own even if they do. Obama love was the reason for Huffpo. It can be so no longer. So let's attack Beck...
The withdraw pain we hear Huffington excreting is actually the dull, aching knowledge that Obama's words didn't matter. His words amounted to nothing but distraction and deceit. Not only is he not the great and powerful saviour - he's not even a run of the mill politician. He's an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks....
Of course, Huffington and her ilk feign disgust with Beck and Rush and their words. The 2 projects Huffington oversaw in 2008 were the vilification of Hillary Clinton and the deification of Obama. Both done with words. Both failures. Clinton is riding high and Obama is overseeing one retreat after another. The Obama illusion Huffington carried water for has been destroyed as completely as Port Au Prince. Obama's words didn't matter and the millions strewn across the Huffington Post didn't either.
It be easy if Obama's collapse into managerial sub-mediocrity was the fault of the evil Glenn Beck or that devil Roger Ailes and their awful hate speech. Of course, this is top of the line, grade-A bullshit. Obama's first year was a failure because of Obama. End of story. The Huffington Post's Obama narrative collapsed under the weight of reality. Fox News didn't ruin Obama's year. Obama did. Accept it, Arianna. Leave Beck out of it.
Don't miss: Obama is wrecking the country and the world.
Seriously, the former Obots who've come to about the Lightbringer are going to end up being far more brutal than I - or any PUMA- ever was. After reading this piece my most furious, contemptuous posts about Obama over the last few years seem positively loving.
Teenagers murdered at party. Mexico is failing. Does anyone in D.C. understand this?
Mumbai Teen suicide rate explodes.
Blubber attack. Obesity is taking the place once held by smoking.
Obama the Inept. The bottom line: He isn't a good politician. Politics is an art, and Obama's basic competence is highly suspect. He lacks the personal radar an effective politician must have-the instinct to know when you're on solid ground and when you're tilting at windmills. Obama has spent a year tilting at windmills. Read more.
Unraveling? Recent news indicates that tensions with North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, China are all growing. Greece is close to financial collapse, which would expose large sections of the E.U. Mexico is devolving by the hour. There is even genuine concern about the U.S.'s political stability.
"Barack Obama has now, in just a year's time, become the single most inept president perhaps in all of American history, and certainly in my lifetime."
From Counterpunch. Read the rest here.
It was clear this decision was coming within a week of the announcement that KSM would be tried in NYC: Guantanamo eyed for 9/11 trial.
Whatever one thinks about the proper venue for these trials - civilian or military - the most troubling aspect of this affair is the Obama Administration's suspect decision making process. The ramifications of choosing Manhattan seem not to have occurred to Obama, the DOJ, or the President's political apparatus. One might argue that they did occur to all of them - and they were ignored. I doubt that. The decision immediately felt similar to the rushed announcement in Obama's first week that Guantanamo was closing. Appearance mattered. Logistics and specifics did not.
There seems to be two ways Obama makes decisions. One is to make a broad announcement without thinking ahead then hoping everything works out - with others doing the "working out" - Health care and the KSM trial are examples. The other is to avoid making a decision at all for as long as possible, then make a decision that covers every possible outcome - which is, of course, not a decision at all. Afghanistan comes to mind. Both processes indicate an empty mind, a kind of dangerous stupidity.
It's disturbing that neither Holder or Obama could see that New York would rebel the moment the enormity of the trial became obvious. This is a separate issue from the civilian vs. military tribunal argument. That was, for better or worse, debated internally. That no one seems to have looked Holder or Obama in the eye and said "This location is trouble, here's why..." is beyond reckoning. As is the possibility that they did - and the concern was not taken seriously.
A combination of imperiousness, fear, ideological blindness, arrogance, and resentment at something animates too much of Obama's decision making process. When decisions like the location of KSM's trial, or when Guantanamo is to close are made the desire to prove something outweighs what makes the most sense or what is best for the nation.
(To be clear - I think Guantanamo should be closed and I'm torn about the proper venue for terrorist trials. It's the rashness of both these decisions that disturbs me deeply.)
Understanding how the politics of the KSM trial would eventually play out in New York and taking it into account is actually the least political decision. Insisting that lower Manhattan would "show the world our system works" was purely political. It's like saying the Manson family should have been tried in the LaBianca's living room to prove to the killers that the neighborhood was resilient.
How a President and his advisers make decisions is extraordinarily important. It's difficult to examine some of the Administration's biggest decisions and not be unnerved.
I love the battle in politics. I want the real arguments to be joined. On this I am bipartisan. With that in mind I offer some advice to the GOP after what I think was Obama's best week in months.
2 things will save 2010 for Democrats.
1. The economy.
2. The Republicans.
If the economy truly turns around Dems will still lose seats but not majorities. That said - the Democrats will also survive if the GOP fumbles. Inviting Obama to the House GOP retreat was a good move. Allowing it to be televised was not. That was boneheaded. Obama got what amounted to a press conference with combative questioners. This always favors a President. The only hope the questioners have is to catch Obama off guard, like his remark that ended with the "beer summit" last summer. Frankly, the bits and pieces I've seen clearly indicate that Obama won the day. Easily. Why was I able to see them? I favor open government - but I do wonder why the House GOP sponsored an Obama event.
The Obama I saw today was one that should have shown up months ago. Some of his wording was condescending (I don't think that will change) but he was smoothly combative, defended his positions, and got in a few good sound bites. He was, to a certain extent, Bill Clinton. And the GOP gave him the forum...not smart.
The GOP needs to let the "He did not move Right like Clinton in the SOTU" meme die. Firstly, he did move Right. Not much - but enough to seize a chunk of the argument about spending. All he needs is a chunk of the argument to stake a claim of fiscal responsibility. He doesn't need to win all of it. The GOP misreads this argument all the time. People do not loath government spending in and of itself. They loath wasteful government spending. Had the stimulus actually employed large numbers of people that 800 billion boondoggle would be considered a genius move and Obama would be polling at 70%. It could have been targeted to do just that. The New Deal did not end the Depression - but it gave people faith again. It got people moving. It may well have stunted a brewing revolution.
Here's a fact: Obama has moved the conversation this week. The GOP is responding as if he hasn't. He hasn't moved it much. And it may not last. And it may be 90% perception (However, perception is 90% of the battle.) Still, responding to Obama as if his SOTU was some liberal, fire breathing campaign speech is knee jerk stupidity. Obama gave a measured, center-left speech that was moderate in tone. Conservatives have convinced themselves that they win all arguments with liberals by merely opening their mouths. They don't. Liberals win arguments all the time. The last 70 years are littered with examples of liberals winning arguments - convincing the public to move Left.
The constantly cited poll that has 40% of Americans identifying as conservative, whereas only 20% claim to be liberals, tricks conservatives into thinking that they are America's natural fall back position. Not true. Far more than 20% of Americans embrace center-left positions on a host of issues. That poll is a reflection of successful branding, not ideology.
When center-left positions are soberly stated and soberly argued - they often win over a majority. This is not a center-right country when all issues - economic, defense and social - are taken together. We are a center-center country. Conservatives are much better at branding. Therefore, those arguing for the center-left positions have a higher mountain to climb. What's interesting to me politically this week is my sense that Obama has finally become aware of this. He's no longer relying on some imagined mandate.
Even though he was everywhere last year, Obama checked out when it came to the dirty work. If he's learned his lesson - the GOP had better be prepared to argue their side and not assume that they've won hearts and minds by simple virtue of Obama's screw ups.
Finally, comparing Bill Clinton's SOTU in 2005 to BHO's in 2010 is misleading. Brown's win was a disaster for the Democrats. It was also one election. The Dems have gone from 60 senate seats to 59. Bad because of the filibuster. But the not the end of the world. In 1994 the House went GOP for the first time in 40 years. Insisting that Brown's election is equivalent to 1994 plays directly into Obama's hands. Clinton outflanked the GOP in the next few years by saying put up or shut up. He won re-election the moment he let Gingrich shut down the government. Obama will metaphorically do the same thing if the GOP lets him. He is already. Any Republican that thinks Americans will support a "conservative" view on the bank taxes because 40% of them claim to be conservative needs his head examined. This is one example of a "put up or shut up" that Obama can and will use.
If I were a GOP advisor I'd say they need to find forums to "put up". Present a simple, appealing, plan that is not a bunch of recycled Reagan bromides. Don't assume those bromides win the day by default in 2010. The nation isn't dashing back to "government IS the problem" thinking. Even if it were the GOP has no one that approaches Reagan's political skills.
There can be no excuses about not getting a message out either. Huge chunks of the media have a conservative bias now. Elections do have consequences. The biggest is the winner gets the bully pulpit. Obama's in it. The GOP isn't. Deal with it. Start every interview with "The Republican plan is..." Not some version of "Obama is a crazy liberal..."
Scott Brown changed the landscape for both parties. Now the GOP has to act, not just react. Watching Obama this week it seems he understand this. Reading conservative columns this week indicates that they don't.
Oh, and don't give the leader of the other party a free podium, lecture hall, and TV cameras and forget the office of the President doesn't have an automatic and huge advantage.
J.D Salinger, who died Wednesday, did not give us new worlds as a few great writers have. However, he did gave us a person, fictional, but real in so many ways, that has infiltrated our collective psyche. Holden Caulfied launched a million teenagers. He might be the first teenager. He birthed the idea of a "generation gap", of disaffected youth, of rebels without a cause - that in turn influenced rebels with a cause. I'd argue that Holden Caulfield is more important to post war America than any number of real people.
Talk to any American teenager for 5 minutes - you'll hear echos of Holden Caulfield's disjointed psyche. Caulfield was the first latchkey kid. Traces of his DNA can be found in everyone from James Dean, to Boy George, to the entire wayward and lost Generation X - now in middle age. My people. Who are neither here nor there. Not Boomers and not young enough to be sucked in by "phonies" (Holden's word) like Obama. We are Holden if he'd aged.
In rejecting all the phonies - he saw the celebrity culture coming years before it submerged American life. He understood it for what it was before it took off- an infection.
So Mr. Salinger. Thanks. For Holden Caulfield. And my dear, dear, Zooey Glass. Who, it's safe to say, got me through my twenties. And for rejecting our mass infection. For refusing the movie offers, the interviews, the nonsense. For having presence enough to say what you wanted to say and then saying no more.
L.R has obtained Obama's first draft of the SOTU speech. He wrote it on a White House mirror with Michelle's lipstick.
We are a great nation lead by me. I won't quit. Me so smart. I like to talk about me. Everyone does. I came to Washington to get a burger with Biden. I stayed to save you're stupid asses. LOL.
I am, I said. And no one else!!!! I, I, I, I, I, I. I think I'm a pretty cool dad. Let's finish health care now! I want to go golfing! Me so smart. Let me repeat to MY fellow Americans: ME SO SMART.
Islamic republic of Iran. I say Islamic because I respect the Koran. And they will listen to me. They love me in Iran. Everyone loves me. People voted for Scott Brown because they love me.
My nipples look nice. People admire my nipples. Chris Mathews wants to touch them. He texted me.
Bush is so stupid! LOL. I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME I ME.
I can't believe Conan was fired before I got to go on his show. Stupid NBC!
I think I should play Tiger Woods in the Lifetime movie. Note to self: Tell Rahm to make some time for this to happen. We can shoot it on the south lawn. Nancy P. can play Tiger's mother in law. Landreiu can chase me with a golf club. People will love it! They love me!
I won a peace prize! This makes our country great! Let's create jobs! Bush was stupid! I am smart! Green! etc! In Perpetuity! I'm went to Harvard law!
Note to self: Make Hillary go away before the speech. She's a buzz kill.
Me me me. I I I.
Jobs are cool! Let's go jobs! I better be first to get an Ipad, dammit! Also war and green jobs! Recycle! Solar! Wind! Gas! Clean Coal! Jobs! Budget Freeze! Education! Just do it! I want my MTV! Got milk?!
Note to self: don't mention Denmark. Denmark sucks. Copenhagen sucks the most. I hate the Danish. Stupid breakfast food. It's just flat cake with striped frosting! Why don't they just call it cake?!!! Belgium is better. Belginians are nice. I like waffles. Just let me eat my waffles.
Now, let us go forth and make history for I am unprecedented. America is not second best with me in charge! It's time to cut the deficit which I made so big. For I am a big man!!! LOL. Let's Freeze Spending! Except when we spend money! Let's cut out everything except military. Those guys scare me....wait don't say that out loud. I wonder if John Roberts has a secret crush on me. I think he does. He's handsome enough. If I weren't totally straight I'd do him. I need a smoke.
I support the gays! Go gays! Gays take state!
I I I I I. ME ME ME ME. Good night, America!
Okay, I'm done. Bring the car around.
This draft was slightly altered before he delivered it last night.
Let's see if I can thread this needle.
1. It was an interesting "folksy" speech. He expected laughs, he got them, and he waited for them. Further, it was solemn. Not over the top. His cadence was disjointed in ways that actually made him feel more human. More normal. He tried to speak as if he was talking to us, not at us. It felt as if he was, finally, trying to be a President.
2. The speech felt Clintonian, without the benefit of Bill Clinton - Bill Clinton being a man who can both talk to us and lift us. Interestingly, without the soaring nonsense, Obama is rather flat. If there was inspiration in the speech it was directed at competence. "Believe me - not because I am the great agent of change - but because I am competent." This is 180 degrees from who Obama has long been. Obama has always used these moments to soar past us. He didn't.
3. I don't care about what the DADT moment - except for "This year I will work...". This is what has been missing from this issue. His commitment to work on it. We shall see.
4. He lied overtly and covertly and by implication - a lot. More than I can remember. Some blogger will catalogue the lies. I am, oddly, neither surprised or hugely upset by them. He rewrote much of 2009, tilting it to favor him.
5. The speech was surprisingly uninspired. What I am amazed by was how different it was from the Obama of old. He was after the middle - even when he was throwing bones to the Left. He did not pivot Right in policy. He attempted to grab the middle in tone.
I do not know how this speech will play. My hunch is it won't matter much. He wants the middle to simply believe him...as he got the Left to earlier. The left loves the soaring rhetoric. The middle loves sober assessment. That is what he attempted. He changed his tone to reach the middle. Did he reach them?
I doubt it.
..the Cannonfire post on the arrest of James O'Keefe for allegedly attempting to bug Mary Landrieu's office.
...I'd like Obama to hit it out of the park tonight. I'd like to see the President forcefully rewrite the narrative. I'd like to see a man who knows he must now take total ownership of the job he's in. I want to see a President that knows he's the President. Not some "above it all" dandy who lets congress do the heavy lifting.
His job is the power position in American politics. He must occupy it fully for anything beneficial to happen. To a certain degree - and only a certain degree - it almost doesn't matter if he veers left, right, or center - he just has to commit. He has to lead. The nation can't tolerate another year of hundreds of little presidents in congress. Maybe in a another era we could. Not now. I will be relieved if what comes out of the speech is a President who knows his job is to govern, not merely facilitate. The false vision of "hope and change" must yield to a fleshed out - realistic - vision of where we are now headed and what we must now do.
Speeches are launching points. For Obama they are often end points, made in the belief that his presence seals some deal by virtue of some imagined gift he alone pocesses. They are, in the end, exercises in condecension. He knows. We don't. The speech tonight needs to be a start - not a finish.
A friend said to me the other night that "Obama never appears to be working". He's right. It too often seems as if he's kicking back waiting for Congress, or flying off to make a speech that amounts to nothing, or appearing on TV, of golfing. He needs to be at work. 24/7. No excuses. No bull. No campaigning. I'd like to see tonight's speech introduce a President who is at work, who is as smart as we were told relentlessly he was. Actually smart. Not Harvard smart. Street smart. The kind of smart that thinks 12 chess moves ahead - and CAN think 12 chess moves ahead because his vision is clear, do-able and sane.
Yep, I've been yelling that Obama is a fraud for 2 years. I'd like to be able to move past that point. Not because it's suddenly not true. Because that argument is settled. He is. He was. He mislead people on a grand scale. Case closed.
Time to move on. Own the job, Mr. Obama. Become the President.
Obama finally comes out of the closet. He's a Republican.
KISS MY ASS.
Get the word out: Three to cycle across the country this summer to raise money for a cure to diabetes. Please check out their site here and spread the word.
I love Apple: Tablet announced today.
Thought: Today is Obama's first State of the Union. Doesn't it seem like he's been President for much longer than a year?
Why would he do this? Anti-ACORN film maker arrested
Mona Lisa was not a vegan: She may have been suffering from high cholesterol