Frustrated White House Slams “Professional Left”

Stress will bring out an organism’s or an organization’s defenses, and the beleagured Obama administration is looking mighty defensive these days. The great unwashed public isn’t buying its PR about its supposed accomplishments, such as the disgrace that it misbrands as financial reform (which 80% are skeptical will prevent a future crisis) and health care reform (which a recent poll shows disapproval v. approval in a 4:3 ratio).

Yet this is an Administration that, ironically, seems to think its Faustian pacts with corporate interests can be sold to a presumed-to-be-clueless public with artful PR. But this supposedly media savvy bunch has persistently violated a fundamental rule of marketing: you don’t misrepresent your product. While politicians all oversell what they can accomplish, the Team Obama campaign has become increasingly desperate as the inconsistency between the Adminstration’s “product positioning” and observable reality become increasingly evident. As we noted in March:

The widespread, vocal opposition to the TARP was evidence that a once complacent populace had been roused. Reform, if proposed with energy and confidence, wasn’t a risk; not only was it badly needed, it was just what voters wanted.

But incoming president Obama failed to act. Whether he failed to see the opportunity, didn’t understand it, or was simply not interested is moot. Rather than bring vested banking interests to heel, the Obama administration instead chose to reconstitute, as much as possible, the very same industry whose reckless pursuit of profit had thrown the world economy off the cliff. There would be no Nixon goes to China moment from the architects of the policies that created the crisis, namely Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers.

Defenders of the administration no doubt will content that the public was not ready for measures like the putting large banks like Citigroup into receivership. Even if that were true (and the current widespread outrage against banks says otherwise), that view assumes that the executive branch is a mere spectator, when it has the most powerful bully pulpit in the nation. Other leaders have taken unpopular moves and still maintained public support.

Obama’s repudiation of his campaign promise of change, by turning his back on meaningful reform of the financial services industry, in turn locked his Administration into a course of action. The new administration would have no choice other that working fist in glove with the banksters, supporting and amplifying their own, well established, propaganda efforts.

Thus Obama’s incentives are to come up with “solutions” that paper over problems, avoid meaningful conflict with the industry, minimize complaints, and restore the old practice of using leverage and investment gains to cover up stagnation in worker incomes. Potemkin reforms dovetail with the financial service industry’s goal of forestalling any measures that would interfere with its looting. So the only problem with this picture was how to fool the now-impoverished public into thinking a program of Mussolini-style corporatism represented progress.

To put it more simply, “it’s the policies, stupid.” The Obama Administration appears pathologically unable to see that its flagging poll numbers and the high odds of credibility-sapping Democrat losses in the mid-term elections are the result of errors in judgment. But instead, it is now reduced to trying to shift blame for its flagging fortunes onto….evil pinkos! This would be comical if it weren’t utterly pathetic.

What passes for the left in this country has been so marginalized that it has limited sway to begin with (although the public is strongly supportive of some positions they defend, such as preserving Social Security and Medicare). And Team Obama would have to have a badly distorted self image to think its centrist (at best) policies qualify as progressive. A more logical explanation is that the Administration presumed it could either co-opt or corral enough liberals so that any salvos from that flank would be limited to those deemed so extreme that their opposition might actually be a plus (think the controversial Noam Chomsky). Jane Hamsher has chronicled the aggressive Obama efforts to shackle liberal groups :

Someone asked me over the weekend to be more explicit about what the term “veal pen” means:

The veal crate is a wooden restraining device that is the veal calf’s permanent home. It is so small (22″ x 54″) that the calves cannot turn around or even lie down and stretch and is the ultimate in high-profit, confinement animal agriculture.(1) Designed to prevent movement (exercise), the crate does its job of atrophying the calves’ muscles, thus producing tender “gourmet” veal.

[]

About 14 weeks after their birth, the calves are slaughtered. The quality of this “food,” laden with chemicals, lacking in fiber and other nutrients, diseased and processed, is another matter. The real issue is the calves’ experience. During their brief lives, they never see the sun or touch the Earth. They never see or taste the grass. Their anemic bodies crave proper sustenance. Their muscles ache for freedom and exercise. They long for maternal care. They are kept in darkness except to be fed two to three times a day for 20 minutes…..

I heard it over and over again — if you wanted to criticize the White House on financial issues, your institutional funding would dry up instantly. The Obama campaign successfully telegraphed to donors that they should cut off Fund for America, which famously led to its demise. It wasn’t the last time something like that happened — just ask those who were receiving institutional money who criticized the White House and saw their funding cut, at the specific request of liberal institutional leaders who now principally occupy their time by brown nosing friends and former co-workers in the White House.

And so the groups in the DC veal pen stay silent. They leadership gets gets bought off by cocktail parties at the White House while the interests of their members get sold out….

Where are they on health care? Why aren’t they running ads against the AMA, the hospitals, the insurance industry barons who have $700 million in stock options, PhRMA, the device manufacturers and the White House for doing back room deals with all of the above?

Why are they not calling for the White House to release the details of those secret deals?

Because they are participating in those deals, instead of trying to destroy them. Well, that and funneling millions of dollars in pass-throughs to their consultant friends that they are supposed to be spending on the health care fight.

The truth is — they’ve all been sucked into insulating the White House from liberal critique, and protecting the administration’s ability to carry out a neoliberal agenda that does not serve the interests of their members. They spend their time calculating how to do the absolute minimum to retain their progressive street cred and still walk the line of never criticizing the White House.

Yves here. With this as background, the impotent White House tongue-lashing reported yesterday in The Hill is particularly revealing:

The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”…..

Progressives, Gibbs said, are the liberals outside of Washington “in America,” and they are grateful for what Obama has accomplished in a shattered economy with uniform Republican opposition and a short amount of time.

Yves here. I suspect most readers will take issue with Gibbs’ straw manning and claim that “progressives” are solidly behind Obama. What interests me is his attempt to discredit via branding a group the Administration sees as enemies.

“Professional left” evokes images of union members drummed up to come out and join protests, all carrying the same mass manufactured placards. Yet the irony here is the Administration’s frustration results from the fact that the people that are real thorns in its side are the antithesis of career political foot soldiers of the left of center persuasion. Per Hamsher, that’s the sort they’ve been able to neutralize.

Instead, the ones that have annoyed them are those who have followings not because they are paid operatives of leftie groups, as Gibbs intimates, but effective, charismatic commentators on TV, such as Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and Dylan Ratigan. So the “professional,” which should be a compliment, is instead a slur, implying they make their money by (per Gibbs’ rant) hewing to an ideological line, as opposed to simply calling out obvious and persistent Obama Administration hypocrisy.

To the extent any of the members of these professional lefties’ fanbases even take notice of Gibbs’ peculiar attack, it’s certain to engender more loyalty. The fact he’d resort to a stunt like this indicates not simply desperation, but also detachment from reality.

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132 comments

  1. russell1200

    Or it could be that they are manufacturing a Sister Souljah moment. The Glenn Becks of the world have branded them as communists, and they are trying to recapture the independent vote.

    Which of course would somewhat make Ms. Hamsher’s point.

    Of course they do have some rather radical elements in (not necessarily very important) positions within their administration, which leave them open to the “communist” attack.

    1. DownSouth

      You have fallen into the same trap as Obama, thinking it’s all about rhetoric (branding) and nothing about substance.

      Obama lost the independents because of his policy failures, not because something some fringe right-wing entertainer said.

    2. alex

      “Of course they do have some rather radical elements in (not necessarily very important) positions within their administration …”

      Please name some – the presence of some “radicals” might make me feel better.

      BTW, what qualifies as a radical in the Obama administration? Someone who favors prudence with taxpayers’ money over feeding the hand that bribes you? Believing that the Bill of Rights is not toilet paper?

      1. Bill in Providence

        “BTW, what qualifies as a radical in the Obama administration? Someone who favors prudence with taxpayers’ money over feeding the hand that bribes you?”

        Faaabulous! I owe you a drink of your choice for that. You brightened my dark day.

      2. pjwrites

        Hear, hear, Alex.

        Should the Obama administration need answers as to why the professional left or anyone else may doubt his ability to lead, your last two “questions” should prove the point.

        This is exactly why I lost any respect I had for the man.

      3. sgt_doom

        Well, they certainly have a bunch of Radical Wall Street Lobbyists and Radical Corporate Fascist Staters:

        Diana Farrell
        Larry Summers
        Timothy Geithner
        Laura Tyson
        Herb Allison
        All the Goldman Sachs guys in the Treasury Department.
        Altman
        Rahm Emanuel and Mona Sutphen
        and on, and on, and on…..

  2. john bougearel

    The Obama Administration, and the risk to the Democrat party in the mid-term elections may be more a result of ‘errors in character’ and not just ‘errors in judgment.’

    Neoliberal agendas from the Obama administration speak more to errors of character more than judgment, imho. The White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs ‘peculiar attack’ on critics of the Administration speaks to both errors of character and judgment.

    Less is more, Mr. Gibbs, speak softly and carry a big stick, and your words will be like iron.

  3. anonymous

    Thank you, Yves, for reminding us how sick of Bush profligacy and cronyism, we all were and what a transparently empty suit candidate nothing burger was and is.

    The devil for me is in the details. My wife and don’t smoke. I quit before we got married and while our domestic life is far from perfect, we haven’t poisoned our kids with second-hand smoke. Hope and change only thought seriously the consequences of his tobacco addiction about quitting once the cameras started rolling.

    Still, the pliant press willingly fed the bum cigarettes while writing ‘gym rat’ hagiographies, and ‘he really is trying to quit’ excuses for Inflate My Grades.

    I didn’t personally write about a billion email, comments, and essays for near 10% unemployment for pretty much all of the Dem president’s only term in office.

    This guy was always one of the ‘them.’ Heard a telling interview with ‘O’, one of the few times I actually listened to anything he said. He was waxing eloquent about his purported love for baseball. When asked about his favorite player on one of the Chicago teams, ‘O’ slipped past the question to identify one of the owners, by name.

    ‘Wouldn’t want to get him mad at me’, reported O. Well, rest assured, the wealthiest folks in America are feeling pretty good about their collective 600 million dollar investment. Stock market is doing fine, the rich are getting richer and My Wife Still Shops At Target is finding that getting used to all that money and celebrity simply takes practice.

    Those high unemployment numbers, btw? They’re not numbers, they’re figures, symbols, representing broken dreams, broken finances, and broken families, in many cases. That’s the legacy of cowardice, self-interest, and corruption.

    If a Republican were presiding over this kind of economic and social train wreck there would be riots in the street.

    Instead, we have to come to Naked Capitalism for sensible, expert editorial comment.

    Wasn’t like some of us didn’t see this all coming.

    ‘Question his experience and judgment?’ Sound to me like you calling him ‘uppity.’

    Times to remember.

  4. attempter

    This has been one of the few episodes of comedy I’ve been able to enjoy lately. It sure does evince desperation on the administration’s part, and also gives the clearest revelation yet of how much Obama truly despises the “progressives” and everything they claim (but never act upon) to believe in.

    At the same time watching said progressives whine and sputter over it afforded much Schadenfreude.

    I especially liked the imbecility of the “professional left” comment, when it’s precisely the professional hacks who have been such despicable traitors in astroturfing for this corporate thug administration. So it’s precisely them who this clown yaps at, and now their feelings are hurt? Awww…

    Anybody who truly didn’t like this kind of treatment would renounce Obama and the Democratic party once and for all as clearly beyond redemption. I said this was the clearest revelation yet, but it’s really been pretty clear from the start.

    But I fear that for all the whining, Obama’s still making a fairly safe bet that this rabble will largely cave in and crawl back as they always do, since “we have no alternative to the Democratic party” constitutes the extremely pinched limits of their courage, their morality, and their intelligence.

    Rather than bring vested banking interests to heel, the Obama administration instead chose to reconstitute, as much as possible, the very same industry whose reckless pursuit of profit had thrown the world economy off the cliff.

    That sums up why the “inheritance” meme is such a vile lie. If an inheritance is odious to you, you renounce it, you reject it, you destroy it.

    But when you embrace the “inheritance” with lascivious glee, as Obama embraced the Bailout, the war, the corporatist assault in general, and all the economic policies, right down to the same personnel, which destroyed this country, then it’s no inheritance at all. You take full personal ownership retroactively to Day One.

    That’s what Obama did across the board.

    1. anonymous

      Occidental College, Columbia, Harvard Law, Hyde Park? Not exactly a track-record of poverty and self-denial, is it?

      Course, paying for it without good grades and scholarships means kissing some rich butt along the way. The corporate class recognizes ambition and greed. Obama parked his behind in the pews of Wright’s church once a week or so to build credibility and used his community organizing operations to help poor people and make Rezko rich.

      He might be a good man and motivated by all the right reasons. I personally doubt it. But you don’t borrow money to buy a home you can’t afford from the Bank of Thug unless you’re either especially dumb or simply greedy and amoral.

      I see no reason to vilify him for being anything other than a corrupt member of the ruling class. The Kerry yacht debacle shows the gulf separating us from them. I’m extremely unlikely to make 500 k in any single year, much less pay 500 k in taxes for my toy boat.

      Bob Herbert wrote an excellent column this week on the misery of unemployment and the loss of dignity and dreams.

      I’d happily trade any single year of Bush, including 2003, for a return to unemployment numbers during the Bush years.

      2000-2008 is starting to look like the good old days to an increasing number of Americans.

      It’s that bad.

    2. i on the ball patriot

      Pernicious Greed Slams “Professional Vanilla Greed”, thus elevating the perpetual conflict and deflecting from the real world of rich and poor, have and have not, and the wealthy ruling elite intentional genocide by propaganda of the global middle class and underclass.

      Pernicious Greed and Vanilla Greed are now co-opted as symbolic tools of divisiveness further blurring the lines of the fake political theater and masking the deceptions.

      The wealthy ruling elite own and control the delivery of the total propaganda machine including the ‘highly paid operatives’ such as Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and Dylan Ratigan. (“effective, charismatic commentators on TV” — ROTFLMAO).

      As the deception deepens, and is being discovered at the same time, the con always throws more distraction into the game.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    3. liberal

      Anybody who truly didn’t like this kind of treatment would renounce Obama and the Democratic party once and for all as clearly beyond redemption.

      I agree, but because of the twin idiocies of first-past-the-post voting and a lack of proportional representation, a viable third party simply isn’t possible.

      1. attempter

        “We have no alternative to the Democratic party” constitutes the extremely pinched limits of their courage, their morality, and their intelligence.

        .

  5. Mad Hemingway

    Like FDR, I welcome the Administration’s hatred.

    Let’s see them get re-elected without their base.

    As far as Jane H goes, she’d be better off dumping the Dems permanently; that’s her blind spot. I lost count of the number of times she raised money for the “progressive” pols during health care, only to see them all fold to Obama. That’s what busts people’s credibility.

  6. Psychoanalystus

    Obama sold out the American people first on the health care “reform”, then on this financial reform, then on the useless wars, and most recently on the British Petroleum clean up.

    Paraphrasing another reader, “no balls, no principles… just bull shit” That’s Obama, alright!

    Psychoanalystus

    1. Propertius

      No offense, but anyone paying attention would have noticed that he sold the American people out on telecom immunity and public campaign finance before he was even nominated. The insurance company bailout was just the predictable follow-on.

      1. Psychoanalystus

        No offense taken :)
        Indeed, he sold us out on those issues you mentioned as well.

        And we have what, 2 and a half years left with this guy?… :-((

        Psychoanalystus

  7. JohnL

    Everyone’s acting as if Obama and the Democrats were the only politicians in this little act. I guess everyone has forgotten the GOP’s deliberate acts of opposition, obstruction, denial, delay and downright public lying on any and everything the Democrats and Obama have proposed.

    Not one bill has produced a GOP alternate; instead, we’ve seen them foaming at the mouth in fake outrage over how Obama is putting us deeper in debt (forgetting the massive hole their previous leader dug initially), how his acts were nothing but corporate pandering, while they proposed nothing at all.

    I certainly blame Obama for not being liberal enough, but given the rhetoric and constant propaganda spewing from the right side of the aisle, it’s inevitable that he has tried to find some common ground with them. The problem is, there isn’t one; the GOP has decided to conduct a scorched earth strategy for 2 years in the hope that it leads to a majority turnaround in both houses of Congress. If that happens, watch true gridlock take place for the next two years!

    1. Francois T

      Oh! Lots of us haven’t forget the Reichpubliscums and their strategy of scorched Earth while betting on the legendary amnesia of Joe-6-pack and Jane 10-pack-Carton. Of course, all this with a mainstream media that trembles with abject dear anytime a hint of “librul” accusation MAY float their way.

      That said, this was the hand Obama was dealt. Instead of repeatedly expose the Repubs for what they do and who they are, (like Alan Grayson from which the WH could buy a clue or two) he chose to play the great guy who can raise above the fray. Well, that may be real effective during a philosophical debate, but a debate this ain’t: it’s about getting results, meaningful results at that.

      The telltale sign that this was not achieved is this: despite a high number of legislative accomplishments, the public perceive, and rightly so, that substantive victories are few and far between. Be it health care, financial reform, said victories were obtained by compromising from the get go. Is that what they call a good negotiation strategy? Or was it the Obama paradigm from the start?

      As for other “promises” like card check (out of the agenda as far as the eye can see) DADT, DOMA, CFPA (OMFG!!!! Is Warren nominable ask the Obamatons while shaking in their boots) immigration reform, we’ll wait a long time for these to happen.

      The bottom line? FDR was not, in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, a first class intellect, but he sure had a world class personality. Obama? Just the reverse.

      As for the Republicants, I’m ready to bet a nice and crisp 100$ bill (backed by the full faith and credit of the US gubmint, of course) that their mid term electoral results will be dismally bad, contrary to the lame stream media prognostications.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Agree that Obama was dealt a horrendous hand with respect to GOP obstructionism, and also agree with Francois T that the GOP will do worse in the midterms than the general news media predict.

        With that said:

        Yet the irony here is the Administration’s frustration results from the fact that the people that are real thorns in its side are the antithesis of career political foot soldiers of the left of center persuasion. Per Hamsher, that’s the sort they’ve been able to neutralize.

        Instead, the ones that have annoyed them are those who have followings not because they are paid operatives of leftie groups, as Gibbs intimates, but effective, charismatic commentators on TV, such as Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and Dylan Ratigan. So the “professional,” which should be a compliment, is instead a slur, implying they make their money by (per Gibbs’ rant) hewing to an ideological line, as opposed to simply calling out obvious and persistent Obama Administration hypocrisy.

        Whereas the Fox media appear to take their information from GOP-fed Talking Points (talk about your veal pen…), the left appears to draw from a wider, more intellectually fearless collection of fairly diverse temperaments.

        FWIW, what appears to distinguish ‘the left’ is a focus on the need for outcomes. The traditional left may have been fine with endless meetings and nice appointments; the newer left appear to be far more focused on outcomes.

        Our federal political processes (including Senate rules, as well as the structure of Senate committees) has been overwhelmed by a multitude of factors. In addition, the old one-state-two-votes notion is ludicrous if you look at the demography of the US: currently, only 9 states have half the population, which means that there are 18 senate votes representing half the population of the United States.

        Rather than howl like a stuck pig, Gibbs would be smarter to explain how the demographics of the 20th century (accelerating after WWII) resulted in a political process where any single senate vote can shut down the federal legislative process.

        18 senate votes represent **half** the US population.
        The other 82 votes represent the other half of the population.

        Of those 82 votes in low-density states, at least half are currently controlled by the GOP obstructionists.

        This is what Gibbs needs to understand, and then explain.
        Whining is not going to cut it.

        1. aet

          Bingo!
          The Senate is the real problem, not Obama.
          US politics have ceased to be representative of Americans.
          period.
          Institutional reform of the senate is urgent.

        2. attempter

          Agree that Obama was dealt a horrendous hand with respect to GOP obstructionism

          Grade school arithmetic says that by numerical definition there is no such thing and can be no such thing as “republican obstructionism.” So you must be referring to self-obstruction on the Democrats’ part, which is incoherent, so really the Dems are enacting exactly the corporatist looting and police state policy they want.

          So you’re referring to the hand Obama dealt himself, all aces for the banksters, war criminals, weapons racketeers, and general thugs; all jokers for democracy and the people.

        3. Propertius

          I’m sorry, but this whole “GOP obstructionism” argument is complete nonsense. Have the Republicans actually filibustered *anything*??? No, they haven’t – because nobody in the Democratic leadership has the guts or the inclination to call their bluff. A filibuster isn’t the end of the world, and contrary to myth it doesn’t paralyze the legislative process (at least not permanently). We didn’t get real health reform or real financial reform because neither party (or should I say “neither branch of the Corporate Party”) wanted them, not because some lone, obstructionist yahoo blocked them.

          Look, I’m sorry the “access bloggers” have finally realized that Santa Claus isn’t real. Life’s tough in the real world.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        Another who perceives Obama’s tangled web. Thespian Brer Obama is playing his role to the hilt: “don’t throw me into that briar patch!” wink-wink. The “opposition” will do so of course, raising the specter of Palin as the new Caesar and thus ensuring his second term.

        One clarification on Obama’s “substantive victories”: I submit that such trumpeted ‘achievements’, both HCR and FR, were not merely highly “compromised” but in fact Trojan-horse victories for the kleptocracy, ensuring a captive market for insurance rackets and rolling bailouts for Wall Street banksters, soon to be followed by Social Security “reform”. Delayed implementation leaves some doubt about that assertion, but the thousands and thousands of lobbyist-authored pages are most assuredly full of the devil’s details.

        On HCR, Gibb’s comment, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare…”, reveals volumes about the Bummer administration’s core values. Oh, no, not Canadian healhcare!

        What scary radicals these ‘professional lefties’ are. If they had their way we’d have Kucinich’s Department of Peace, engaging in actual diplomacy, and withdrawing from quagmire oil wars. Where’s the profit in that?

    2. sgt_doom

      No, the Korporate Media is acting as if one of the branches of the Bankster Party (the rightwing branch formerly know as the democrats — the extreme rightwing branch is the Repulicons) are dems, which they most definitely aren’t.

      Those who ware against the Bush-dog policies, cannot support the continuation and expansion of such policies under Obama.

      No way.

      No how.

    3. attempter

      Silly me, hallucinating the grade school arithmetic which tells me the Republicans have been absolutely powerless throughout the Obama period, to this day.

      1. Psychoanalystus

        Then why have we gotten such rotten health insurance and finance reform bills?

        Psychoanalystus

        1. attempter

          Well, since the Republicans were powerless (to do anything the Dems didn’t want to let them do), who does that leave?

          (Is this stuff really that hard?)

  8. Iok Sotot

    ““I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.””

    Obama is nothing like George W. Bush! The most striking diffirence is that Obama is a black man and can talk good. Also, Obama is black. If those two were standing next to each other you would be able to tell which one is which because GW is a pale beige while Obama is more coffee colored.
    He’s taller too.

    1. sgt_doom

      I believe George W. Bush represented the first simian elected to the White House.

      Obama is, obviously, an Afro-Saxon — a considerable difference along with his being far more intelligent and articulate.

      Also, Bush’s daddy was a C.I.A. director, while Obama’s mother worked through the C.I.A.’s foundation (the Ford Foundation, as did Geithner’s daddy).

      Crucial, although negligible, differences…..

  9. BDBlue

    If only more people had paid attention to Adolph Reed, Jr. about Obama (or anything else, for that matter). Here’s what he wrote about him in 1996 (so, really, nothing is new):

    In Chicago, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program–the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics.

    It was all branding. From the very get-go. That’s where the lesson is. And, of course, now that people bought the product, they can see it doesn’t live up to its branding. That was predictable.

    What’s surprising is that so many of the Obama people don’t seem to understand that basic notion. You’d think Gibbs – part of Obama’s branding team – would understand the issue.

    Or maybe he does and this is more branding. One last tribal appeal to all those “progressives” in “real America” to stand with their guy. Nevermind what Consumer Reports says, Obama is awesome.

    1. anonymous

      has a bone to pick with Yves, Markos, and Jane H.

      As I noted up thread, there is nothing remarkable about the current occupant of the Oval Office, He is not deserving of any special opprobrium, IMHO.

      The magic didn’t take back in 2007 at a time when I wanted very much to believe in the “eloquence and intelligence” of the Senator from Chicago. Didn’t. I can remember clearly two events. The first was an article in New York magazine describing Obama’s talent for slipping difficult questions. A lady in in a town hall asked the Senator if he thought there was too much religion in American politics. As I person of faith, I was sincerely hoping that we’d get a clear, unambiguous YES, as an answer. Instead, he offered a lecture on Martin Luther King and James Madison and the baffle-gab just spilled forth and flowed. Then, he appeared on the Daily Show and allowed Jon Stewart to lick his hand. Yukk!

      That was it for me. With luck, we’ll have enough Republicans under pressure to return to small government to create a pro-business environment and get the job numbers up. I’d actually like to see Yves in charge of reforming the regulatory apparatus of the government. Cause I’m not seeing anything from any party that inspires any reason to believe there’s going to be any change.

      Put people back to work and scale back the big projects.

    2. liberal

      I supported the guy, but I knew exactly what he was by looking up his voting record (in this case, at Americans for Democrati c Action).

      So I’m disappointed but not at all surprised.

      As for the hope/change BS, it was obvious from the get-go that that was just campaign rhetoric.

  10. scharfy

    He just never had it. As the previous poster noted – Obama was a brand, sold to American as the perfect antidote to the spoiled child of privilege – George Bush.

    Though the right continually tried to paint him as a left wing ideologue, a man of deep internal Marxists tendency, he was nothing of the sort. Sure he hung out with radicals, even knew a few, but only because it added to the brand, at times. In truth he was a political opportunist, sailing wherever the wind blew him, quickly to be sure – but never with his own rudder, with his own convictions.

    He certainly didn’t betray the left, anymore than W betrayed the right. Those men were exactly who they were supposed to be. How could they conceal themselves?

    I think it was Aristotle who said a nation gets the leader it deserves. American hyper-consumerism brought to power a media darling straight from Madison Avenue, catalyzed by the media in all its glory.

    1. Propertius

      Absolutely correct. One small nit – given Bill Ayers’s remarkable luck in skating on Federal charges, I personally have more than a few doubts about his real “radical” credentials. He looks a lot more like a COINTELPRO agent provocateur to me. If that’s the “radical” you’re talking about, then I think it’s more a matter of two phonies finding out how much they have in common.

      1. Valissa

        That is a possibility I have thought likely as well… or even some sort of “double agent” playing both sides for his intellectual amusement. He cetainly enjoys his iconic status as rebel radical provocateur… from a very safe establishment position.

  11. alex

    This shows how meaningless terms like left, right and center are, and how people use them out of laziness or to play political games.

    Is reducing healthcare costs (e.g. the public option, which the CBO thought was a real money saver) just a left-wing issue? Is not corruptly bailing out the banks a left-wing issue? “Centrist” is often used as another word for corrupt, with pragmatism as an excuse; there are always rent seekers favoring the status quo. And I say that as someone who genuinely is more a centrist than an extremist of either stripe. “Centrist” as Washington speak is giving real centrists a bad name.

    1. lambert strether

      Alex writes:

      the public option, which the CBO thought was a real money saver

      There are a few problems with that statement:

      1. Category confusion between the “public option” as a series of talking points, and the public option policy as embodied in crafted legislation. Both constantly shifted, but the implementation started out with 130 million enrollees and ended up with 10 million — the latter figure giving the lie to the public option advocates who claimed that it would succeed in bringing market pressures to bear on the health insurance companies.

      2. Here’s what the CBO said:

      a public plan is also apt to attract enrollees who, overall, are less healthy than average (for the same reasons it would attract a substantial number of enrollees). Although the payments received by all plans in the exchanges would be adjusted to account for differences in the health of their enrollees, the methods used to make such adjustments are imperfect. As a result, the higher costs of those less healthy enrollees in the public plan would probably be offset partially but not entirely; the rest of the added costs would be reflected in the public plan’s premiums. Correspondingly, the costs and premiums of competing private plans would, on average, be slightly lower than if no public plan was available.

      So, a “real money saver” indeed (for whatever version of the public option CBO was looking at) — just not very much money.

      3. Next, CBO scoring is the wrong metric for public policy choices in health care, because it only talks about government spending, and not private spending. Single payer, for example, cannot be fairly assessed by the CBO, since its $400 billion a year savings are society wide.

      4. Finally, this is the chart we need to understand how broken our uniquely American health care system is.

  12. JIm Haygood

    ‘It’s the policies, stupid.’

    So true. O’Bomba’s surge in Afghanistan mirrors Bush’s surge in Iraq. And his saber-rattling toward Iran recalls Bush’s NYT-trumpeted ‘Saddam’s WMDs’ fantasy. Like his floppy-eared predecessor Lyndon Barack Johnson, O’Bummer’s the Viceroy of Vietghanistan, and he’s goin’ down.

    Gibbs’s invocation of tired, anachronistic labels such as left-right and liberal-conservative — not to mention fascist policies such as drug testing — shows just how out of it (and how like their alleged nemeses) the O’Bomber White House is.

    Unconsciously, they’re acting out Poppy Bush’s astonishment at the supermarket checkout when he encountered laser scanning. For patrician Poppy, whose servants always did the shopping, sufficiently developed technology was indistinguishable from magic. And now Nobel Laureate O’Bomba thinks sufficiently developed technology is gonna deliver ‘victory in Afghanistan.’ HA HA HA — frickin’ deluded clown — all hail the King of the Drones!

    In this, the tenth year of the Bush-Obama administration, all the long-suffering people want to know is: Have we hit bottom yet? I reckon not …

  13. Bob Morris

    ‘The Avocado Declaration’ by written by Peter Camejo in 2004 explains how explains how real change in the US invariably originates from third parties and independent movements, and how the historic role of the Democratic Party has been to co-opt such change and render it harmless.

    http://www.cagreens.org/longbeach/avocado.htm

    That’s why Netroots can’t win. They can not reform the party from within, and will either be co-opted or leave in disgust.

  14. f. fondremont

    Deja vu but better, Macondo instead of Katrina, even more U6. The same kind of desperate flailing from another disposable mediocrity installed by corporations and cut loose. Time to dust off the abject-failure investment theme that worked so well with Bush, Obama’s predecessor puppet. This is gonna be great.

  15. citizendave

    Gibbs: “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality … They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.” Gibbs is saying to me “Stop dreaming!” while I’m trying to dream, trying to keep hope alive. Dreaming about true reform is like trying to get a campfire started in a drenching downpour. Gibbs reminded me of Rahm saying in regard to single payer that liberals are (expletive deleted) “retards”. I do a periodic “gut check” and ask myself “why are we at war?” and draw a blank for a few seconds until the mainstream excuses start to seep in. I ask myself “what does the White House stand for?” and draw a blank, but nothing starts to seep in, except that they call themselves Democrats. I wonder if they are getting their sense of identity from the polarization with the Republicants. Attempter helps me to see clearly: how has this administration distinguished itself from the previous administration? I don’t hold these people in as much contempt as the previous bunch (oh, wait, it is the same bunch). Perhaps that is the greatest danger, that this administration is more subtle, and therefore more insidious.

    1. EmilianoZ

      Very true, Gibbs is basically saying “Stop dreaming”. What it logically entails, though he doesn’t say it, is: “Resign yourself to be a serf of corporate interests for the rest of your life”.

      I don’t see American healthcare becoming like the Canadian model as an impossibility. It’s more like a necessity. All other industrialized nations have a similar system. The alternative is having a major part of the US population living in 3rd world conditions.

      1. Psychoanalystus

        “The alternative is having a major part of the US population living in 3rd world conditions.”

        That’s already taking place, my friend.

        Psychoanalystus

  16. eightnine2718281828mu5

    This game could not be more simple: unite your supporters and divide your enemies.

    Can anyone imagine Reagan insulting his base?
    Bush I or II?

    Bill or Hillary?

  17. Frank Ohsen

    Ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhh sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit. When the MSM starts turning against their darling to this extent you can bet your last devalued dollar that a big war effort is on the brink to distract from collateral political shrapnel. Soros and that ilk of current administration benefactors are no doubt well positioned to take advantage however. Always it’s win-win for them.

    And if I were Iran I’d be praying to Allah, big time baby. All shock and awe hell about to break loose upon you. Iraq in comparison will look like lazer tag. Picture The Big-O on an aircraft carrier soon.

    Obama Czars are about to get their first big wartime test in undiplomatic leadership. They’ve done really well so far on other matters haven’t they? They will be consumate pros at this wartime stuff. Things are looking interestingly fine.

    Assume the position boys and girlz. Your initiation is about to commence. Just practice saying: “Sir, may I have another?!!??!!!”

    1. traderjoe

      Yes, war very possible. We have several nice regional police actions teed up in NK, Iran, Chavez.

      It depends upon what the PTB want. Do they want Dems to lose in November to create the illusion of participation and choice with the sheeple? How can they keep the system running for 6-12 more months as they finish their raping of the middle class and prepare for the collapse? Can they stick save the economy a little longer?

      There is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. They both serve their corporate/banking/defense masters. They take turns ‘being in charge’ in order to keep the people quiet. MSNBC and Fox News owned by different media barons – who sell their ads to corporate america. It’s all a distraction – keeping people watching the illusion instead of the looting.

  18. brian

    Do we want to abolish the Pentagon? No
    Do we want Canadian Healthcare? Hell Yes!!
    Covers everyone
    Costs 1/3 less
    Canadians have a longer lifespan than us
    And no 30% off the top to insurers

    Todays LA Times

    “The top executives at the nation’s five largest for-profit health insurance companies pulled in nearly $200 million in compensation last year — while their businesses prepared to hit ratepayers with double-digit premium increases, according to a new analysis conducted by healthcare activists.

    The leaders of Cigna Corp., Humana Inc., UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint Inc. each in effect received raises in 2009, the report concluded, based on an analysis of company reports filed with the Security and Exchange Commission.

    H. Edward Hanway, former chief executive of Philadelphia-based Cigna, topped the list of high-paid executives, thanks to a retirement package worth $110.9 million. Cigna paid Hanway and his successor, David Cordani, a total of $136.3 million last year.

    Only one executive in the list actually saw his paycheck shrink last year: Ron Williams, the CEO of Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc., earned nearly $18.2 million in total compensation, down from $24.4 million in 2008.”

  19. lambert strether

    Not to throw gas on the flames of what passes for internecine warfare on what passes for the left, but:

    Hamsher was instrumental in creating her own little veal pen on HCR, along with all the other access bloggers, who were — oddly, or not — unanimous in their refusal to give single payer advocates any oxygen at all.

    The tell occurred very early, when single payer advocate Dr. Margaret Flowers was arrested for civil disobedience in the Baucus hearing room, since Baucus had refused to include single payer advocates in his hearings. (Unsurprising, since Liz Fowler, a Wellpoint VP on secondment to his staff, had drafted his bill.) None of the access bloggers, including Hamsher, gave this story any play whatever.

    Hamsher in particular turned over an entire silo to a paid lobbyist for so-called “public option” advocates HCAN, Jason Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum supplied a daily column misleadingly titled “Health Care News,” but in line with HCAN’s (and FDL’s?) funder mission, it too suppressed single payer coverage.

    The story of the public option is a sad one (except for those who were funded to push it, of course). Beginning as an academic proposal by one Jacob Hacker, it began as a neo-liberal proposal that preserved the centrality of health insurance companies, but supplemented their coverage with a Medicare-style program with approximately 130 million enrollees. After many twists and turns, it emerged in the House bill covering 9 or 10 million enrollees, and then died altogether. This, too, is unsurprising, given that the public option was never anything other than a sales pitch in a bait and switch operation, comprised of a series of ever-changing talking points, and had (unlike single payer) never been shown to save a single life or a single dollar. (See Kip Sullivan here and here.)

    The cream of the jest is that Obama had betrayed the so-called public option from the very beginning of the HCR process, and never intended to implement it — despite all the “savvy” and “pragmatic” career “progressives” who acted as if it were still on the table. (Whether they knew of Obama’s betrayal, or not, isn’t really relevant to their putative savviness; if they did know, they betrayed along with Obama; if they did not, they can make no claim to either tactical or strategic competence.)

    In short, that Hamsher is being quoted as any sort authority on what the genuine progressives, let alone the left, should do, is not only one of life’s little ironies, it’s a classic illustration of how Versailles works: Only those who fail are allowed another round to double down; and the dirty hippies who tried to warn everyone of the coming fail were right, are silenced and ostracized.

    1. alex

      “The story of the public option is a sad one (except for those who were funded to push it, of course).”

      Why would someone want to fund a push for it? There’s something in your argument that I’m missing.

      1. attempter

        It was a bait and switch away from single payer. Once the rabble were baited, the substance of the “public option” could be whittled down to nothing but the name, and then the name itself was dumped. The hacks played the dupes like a violin. If I were an insurance racketeer I’d say that was well worth the pennies I spent for every billion I’m expecting to be able to loot.

  20. NOTaREALmerican

    The Red and Blue Teams of the Republicrat Party.

    Different Clowns same Circus. The sociopaths manipulating the true-believer dumbasses for fun and profit.

    Until the peasants are in pain enough that second Party is formed nothing can change. Of course, before that happens the fascists win (it’s the simple flow of human nature history – worshiping the nobility).

  21. Kevin de Bruxelles

    Yes they are screaming bloody murder today but after a week or so of frenzied outrage and just as the bruises start healing, the Professional (or is it Retarded?)Left will fall back into line and stand by their Dems. The leadership of the Dems know full well that they can bitch slap these weak clowns all they want and the only reaction will be even more eager servitude. Just go read some of the liberal blogs and you will see many of these losers are already trying to crawl back right into bed with their Dems even as their wounds are still oozing.

    Barrington Moore in his classic “The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy” shows that a reactionary regime always follows the union of the aristocratic and bourgeois elites. In the US it is only slightly different; a wealthy corporate elite have locked in with a liberal cultural elite on economic issues while maintaining a phony cultural war to give the impression of political debate for the benefit of the peasants and lumpenproletariat. Most of the bourgeois Left are smart enough to know this but insist on continuing this sham political theater since they are not at all ready to throw away the economic benefits of their alliance with corporate wealth. This is why Daily Kos will be full of “Stand by your Dems” diaries. You know how these go: “Yes, it’s true the Dems once again brutally pimp slapped us right in front of our family and friends and stuffed a bottle of Drano down our throats and I’m really really outraged about this, but – deep down inside Dems really do love us in their own special way but are just afraid to show it, and we just need to elect better Dems that won’t slap us around quite so much …”

    O=W, and when the majority of American’s finally realize that it makes absolutely no difference whether a Democrat or Republican wins an election, then we will start moving towards a solution. But this also means realizing that success is not measured by whether the other party that you vote for wins. Once Americans are liberated from voting for the peanuts the Republicrats throw their way real political parties will eventually take form. The political establishment will fight this process tooth and nail of course. So watch out for more fake rebranding exercises like the Tea Party. When the Gap realized they were not doing so well with a lower income demographic they opened up Old Navy – but even though it has a different name and slightly different products, it’s still all run out of Gap headquarters. The Tea Party is just the Republicans version of Old Navy where they opened a slightly rebranded knock-off for their low-rent voters. But they maintain complete control over it. If the Dems lose big in 2010 look for them to open up an equally weak knock-off chain called something goofy like “We Shall Overcome” for pissed off lefties.

    1. anonymous

      I agree with almost this entire post, except for the part about the Republicans and the Tea-Party. The Tea-party is home to a lot of unhappy, small government, anti-Obama types and many of them will vote Republican, mostly because between their anti-Obama and anti-big government sentiments, they’re almost certain to show up at the polls to depose the party in power.

      Where you have it wrong, IMHO, is that the Tea-Partiers are as hostile, almost, to Republicans as they are Dems, for many of the reasons you cite.

      I spent a couple of years at DKOS and agree very much with your general observation. There are hardcore dissenters but they don’t get much play. And that’s the difference between the Tea-Party and the left.

      The Left takes no and the beatdown over and over and then begs for more. The Tea-Party isn’t built that way. The GOP would love to own them. Howard Dean will try to marry the GOP to Bush or the ‘racist fringe’ in the Tea Party, but the sense I get is that the Tea-Party isn’t taking orders from any authority figures, self-appointed or elected.

      If the GOP does as well as expected, they’ll be under the same scrutiny and if they don’t deliver, they’re going to hear about it, sooner rather than later. I’m not saying the Tea-Partiers are rational or correct. But they’re not owned by anyone.

      1. liberal

        But they’re not owned by anyone.

        Of course they’re owned by the GOP. Where were they on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Where were they when the tally for Iraq was closing in on $1T?

      2. Jessica

        I agree that the Tea Partiers are not owned by anyone. However, I wonder if they would get as much attention if their demands were anti-corporatist rather than de facto pro-corporatist.

        1. Chester Genghis

          Excellent point!! Just look at the lavish, loving coverage provided by Fox News from Day One!

          The Tea Party may not be owned by anyone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much in the end. The Kaiser didn’t own Vladimir Lenin, but he (the Kaiser) was able to very effectively use him (Lenin) to his own ends.

      3. Kevin de Bruxelles

        Maybe “owned” wasn’t the best way to put it. Let’s just say that the Republicans, for the time being, have safely isolated the Tea Party. There is no doubt the Tea Party’s anger is real, but that’s only because with the current recession, the economic contradictions between the interests of working-to-middle class Republicans against the interests of their wealthy masters can no longer remain hidden. On two points that are particularly destructive to working class interests—third world illegal immigration and third world off-shoring–neither wealth defending party will budge and the Tea People know this. In other words the Tea Party has discovered the rather dangerous concept of class. So of course the way around this contradiction is to change the issue from economics to cultural. In other words wealthy corporate interests bring in a few racial provocateurs to badmouth Mexicans and the Bourgeois Left gets to gleefully defend, on the high moral ground of fighting racism, the fact that they now have waves of cheap and impotent labor to mow their lawns and care for their children. And in the end Tea People get to feel shame and are pressured to hold their fire since many of them actually were on the wrong side of the Civil Rights battles.

        So the hope is to keep the Tea Party penned in and either not voting or reluctantly voting Republican (remember Palin was their keynote speaker) for the rest of the recession, and then when the good times roll again they will fall back into the Republican ranks just like the loser lefties always do with the Dems. Of course the good times just might not be rolling for a very long time. So wake me up when the Tea Party actually creates a separate party and/ or runs separate candidates (not just in the primary) and I will vote for them.

        1. anonymous

          K de Brux writes…[…]

          Thanks for the reply. Again, I think you make some very sensible points about class and class dynamics. I certainly don’t disagree that corralling and utilizing Tea-Party participants is a high priority for Republicans. That, I would argue confirms my own argument, not yours, namely that the Tea Party is not currently one of the reliable constituencies owned by the two parties. Both parties possess constituencies that can be trotted out for convenient photo-ops or to ‘spontaneously’ send letters of outrage TM to the local press.

          Nor do I see tea-party racism or xenophobia as innocuous or innocent. There is no question that the ethnicity of the overwhelming majority of tea-party participants is white, for want of a better term, judging from their spokespeople and from rally footage.

          Bonding along racial or religious lines, like every action, has a not necessarily equal or opposite reaction. There’s a fine line between tolerance and intolerance.

          The correspondence of the British Ambassador to Japan, Sir Charles Elliot from 1919 to 1925 is instructive on this point. The racist politics on the west coast of the US during the early 1920’s changed Japanese foreign and domestic policy. Neville Bennett demonstrates, in an excellent 2001 paper, that the there was nothing new or novel in the California legislation, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada had all passed similar laws, the California legislation was the beam that broke the back of the moderates in Japan.

          I think there are large numbers of disaffected white Americans and Europeans who really do feel threatened. I don’t think we’ll see fascism in the US, although I certainly understand the fears of those who see the Tea-Party as a proto-fascist party working to further the interests of whites.

          People need jobs. If they have income, they have hope. Without jobs and dreams all sorts of bad things can happen, and happen rather quickly.

          1. anonymous

            A quick addendum and apology for the punctuation errors. The higher unemployment rates among minorities would seem to dispel any suggestion that whites are being victimized.

            That’s wrong. The Tea-Party narrative is that hard work is rewarded and that if you’re in prison, without a job, or on welfare then you simply need to work harder. This is a standard conservative trope and very often entirely without any foundation, at all. The legacy of entitlements is unsustainable, however.

            The ever-increasing size of the debt and the implied debt burden on the employed, on those who did not default on their mortgages or who moved to find work is the dynamic at work here. The argument is not about fiscal reality but the perception of fairness. And in this case, the perception is more powerful than the reality.

    2. Chester Genghis

      Obama does not = W. He’s way too centrist for my tastes too and there ain’t nearly enough difference between the Dems and the Republicans. But there is a difference.

      In 2000 a few thousand Florida residents voted for Nader instead of Gore –based on the same sort of logic. With 10 years hindsight, do you really think that made NO difference?

      1. Kevin de Bruxelles

        Despite all the hype there would have been little been little to no difference if Gore had won in 2000. Any differences that eventually did end up existing would not have been about policy but about how these policies were marketed to the public. For example the Iraq War would have been sold as just another Kosovo-like intervention but the results would have been the same. You would have had the usual hippies against it but as you see now the vast majority of the Left is quite quiescent when it’s their guys launching the wars. The Right would have shown much more public dissent with their usual (in those days) talk of exit strategies and worries about the US being the global policeman. And perhaps the tax cuts for the rich would have been done in a less transparent way. But the whole “Bush in an idiot theme” really just added to the illusion that any Republicrat president actually decides policy himself. The same mind game is being played on the Right with the Obama is a jihadi-ape-communist. The truth is the salesman is irrelevant because within the current system the product remains the same no matter who is pushing it.

        But on the other hand had even more people had voted third, fourth, or fifth party in 2000 and convinced even more people to do so in 2004 and 2008, we may be on the brink of either an electoral revolution or more likely the powers-that-be would be on the brink of being forced to yank off their shear democratic veil and reveal their true totalitarian face to the world. But instead people are just discussing the chump-change culture war issues that the parties so happily encourage their brain-dead entourages to debate. And that finely woven democratic veil is still hiding the truth beneath.

        1. Chester Genghis

          Yes, real change may require the courage to break away from the status quo and create a real, independent third party. And yes it might take a few election cycles to accomplish. (How to maintain independence & avoid corruption by the same forces corrupting our existing system is another story…)

          But Gore giving tax cuts to the wealthy, invading Iraq, and charging it all on our childrens’ credit cards? Nonsense.

          1. Kevin de Bruxelles

            We will obviously never know on Iraq but just to cut into your certainty a bit, it might do well to remember who Gore’s vice President was. That’s correct, Joseph Lieberman, the most rabidly neocona and pro-Likud politician in America would have been a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Would he have used his influence to have neocons placed in positions of foreign policy power? Does AIPAC somehow have less influence over the Democrats?

            And does your certainty about the impossiblity of Gore attacking Iraq transfer to the question of Obama attacking Iran?

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Kevin,

            The norm in American politics is for the veep to be a powerless functionary. Gore was one departure because he got on exceptionally well with the Clintons and knew his place; Cheney was another. Look at Biden now, that’s far more typical.

          3. Kevin de Bruxelles

            If you guys don’t believe me about it then why not ask Al Gore himself. Here are some excerpts from a speech he gave on September 23, 2002.

            After starting by complaining that Bush is abandoning Afghanistan and the search for bin Laden (this speech was given a month and a half before midterms) he goes on to state his position on an invasion of Iraq:

            Nevertheless, Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power. Moreover, no international law can prevent the United States from taking actions to protect its vital interests, when it is manifestly clear that there is a choice to be made between law and survival. I believe, however, that such a choice is not presented in the case of Iraq. Indeed, should we decide to proceed, that action can be justified within the framework of international law rather than outside it. In fact, though a new UN resolution may be helpful in building international consensus, the existing resolutions from 1991 are sufficient from a legal standpoint.

            Next Gore sets the stage for the main point of his speech:

            I was one of the few Democrats in the U.S. Senate who supported the war resolution in 1991. And I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration’s hasty departure from the battlefield, even as Saddam began to renew his persecution of the Kurds of the North and the Shiites of the South – – groups we had encouraged to rise up against Saddam. It is worth noting, however, that the conditions in 1991 when that resolution was debated in Congress were very different from the conditions this year as Congress prepares to debate a new resolution. Then, Saddam had sent his armies across an international border to invade Kuwait and annex its territory. This year, 11 years later, there is no such invasion; instead we are prepared to cross an international border to change the government of Iraq. However justified our proposed action may be, this change in role nevertheless has consequences for world opinion and can affect the war against terrorism if we proceed unilaterally.

            And this very important point is that Gore is worried that Bush will not undertake an enduring occupation of Iraq:

            Moreover, if we quickly succeed in a war against the weakened and depleted fourth rate military of Iraq and then quickly abandon that nation as President Bush has abandoned Afghanistan after quickly defeating a fifth rate military there, the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam. We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.

            [Clip]

            If we end the war in Iraq, the way we ended the war in Afghanistan, we could easily be worse off than we are today. When Secretary Rumsfield was asked recently about what our responsibility for restabilizing Iraq would be in an aftermath of an invasion, he said, “that’s for the Iraqis to come together and decide.”

            During one of the campaign debates in 2000 when then Governor Bush was asked if America should engage in any sort of “nation building” in the aftermath of a war in which we have involved our troops, he stated gave the purist expression of what is now a Bush doctrine: “I don’t think so. I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I’m missing something here. We’re going to have a kind of nation building corps in America? Absolutely not.”

            [Clip]

            Here is the Congressional Resolution President Gore would have asked for on Iraq:

            I believe, therefore, that the resolution that the President has asked Congress to pass is much too broad in the authorities it grants, and needs to be narrowed. The President should be authorized to take action to deal with Saddam Hussein as being in material breach of the terms of the truce and therefore a continuing threat to the security of the region. To this should be added that his continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially a threat to the vital interests of the United States. But Congress should also urge the President to make every effort to obtain a fresh demand from the Security Council for prompt, unconditional compliance by Iraq within a definite period of time. If the Council will not provide such language, then other choices remain open, but in any event the President should be urged to take the time to assemble the broadest possible international support for his course of action. Anticipating that the President will still move toward unilateral action, the Congress should establish now what the administration’s thinking is regarding the aftermath of a US attack for the purpose of regime change.

            [Clip]

            Gore spends much of the speech denouncing the concept of preemption but repeatedly states that existing UN resolutions justify an invasion. In other words he is against premption because it sets bad precedent and more importantly because he doen’t need it to justify an invasion. (By the way his points on this subject are indeed correct if not somewhat cynical)

            The Congressional resolution should make explicitly clear that authorities for taking these actions are to be presented as derivatives from existing Security Council resolutions and from international law: not requiring any formal new doctrine of pre-emption, which remains to be discussed subsequently in view of its gravity.

            So according to Gore himself he would have invaded Iraq, perhaps a little bit later than Bush and probably with a larger invasion force and he would have better prepared for an occupation. He would not have pissed off the international community as much and he would not have justified his invasion by on open declaration of the concept of preemption.

            Damn I’m sorry I voted for Nader.

            http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iraq/2002/iraq-020923-gore01.htm

          4. Yves Smith Post author

            Kevin,

            I voted for Nader, but this does NOT prove your argument. Gore accepts the cooked WMD intel. That was ginned up to justify a decision already made, remember? The cherrypicking of the NIE?

            You have no proof that Gore would have fabricated a reason to launch an attack on Iraq. And his reaction to Bush falsehoods is not strong evidence of intent. Look how many members of Congress, and liberals generally, fell for it (yours truly didn’t but largely by virtue of being constitutionally skeptical and in Australia, where the news coverage was much less biased).

      2. attempter

        No, in 2000 a clear majority of the vote went to Gore, he had an entire political machine and physical possession of the White House, and what happened when a few yahoos and a handful of renegades in robes sought to steal the election they won fair and square?

        Gore and the entire liberal cadre caved in and slunk away like the infinite twerp cowards they are. They committed treason against democracy. They had absolutely no right to let their election be stolen, but they let it happen anyway, because that’s what liberal cowards do.

        That’s their infinite dishonor, their infinite shame, why their names will be spit upon for the rest of history.

        And now as an encore they’ve given us this gangster.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Whether you believe Gore would have changed outcomes (you can make a pretty good case he would not have gone into Iraq, even Reagan thought the neocons were nuts and kept them at a considerable remove), you have fallen for the canard peddled about Florida.

        It was the voter rolls. Former felons can’t vote in FL. Jeb Bush hires the MOST EXPENSIVE bidder to scrub the voter roles of felons, and the firm hired goes on to scrub every name that looks even remotely black (such as first name Tyrone or Lakisha) that bears a dim resemblance to a felon’s name.

        Estimates of how many black voters were scrubbed range from 90,000 to 18,000. Take the minimum. 90,000 x black turnout of 30% x 90% (propensity of blacks to vote Democrat) and you get a minimum of 24,000 more vote for Gore.

      4. NOTaREALmerican

        Re: With 10 years hindsight, do you really think that made NO difference?

        Hmmmm, let’s see…

        Bring Steven Home, then Redeploy him to Afghanistan.

        You are right, the bumper sticks ARE slightly different.

    3. lambert strether

      And Julia’s voice was lost, except in sighs.

      Until too late for useful conversation ;
      The tears were gushing from her gentle eyes,

      I wish, indeed, they had not had occasion ;
      But who, alas ! can love, and then be wise?

      Not that Remorse did not oppose Temptation ;
      A little still she strove, and much repented.
      And whispering “I will ne’er consent ” — consented.

  22. Jessica

    Right now, American politics is a battle between those who favor a stronger government, which will give more money and power to the very rich, and those who favor a weaker government so that the rich can just take it from us.
    How do we create something new? I think we need both vision and organization.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      What you say isn’t quite right.

      The socialists (Blue Team) and fascists (Red Team) of society BOTH want a huge government so their very very very very very very smart Party insiders can pull-the-strings of the economy making life perfect.

      If you concentrate all the loot and power into a few places the nobility class will eventually win by purchasing politicians (sociopaths) to pass laws which ensure they do (say, for example, the Fed).

      The real question is how do you keep people from voting to centralize the power and loot (which I’m not sure is possible). The libertarian fantasy of “small government” never accounts for the simple fact of life that there are lots more dumbasses than smart people; and the smart sociopaths “tell” the dumbasses to vote to concentrate the power (for the dumbasses BEST interests, of course). Being dumbasses, they always agree.

      In my opinion the only way to be safe FROM the government is to decentralize its power, which is really attempting to spread around the sociopaths. But, this is also a fantasy.

      Here is a nice chart of the political landscape (from Jesse NOT me)

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_H2DePAZe2gA/R_BpT2D1GgI/AAAAAAAABSo/45CDaTXzzTM/s1600-h/continuumsocial.PNG

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          Well, of course, I’m talking about REAL socialism; Blue & Red Team style. Not fantasy socialism. There’s got to be a second political Party to get fantasy socialism implemented.

  23. John

    The bashing of Obama is just stupid. That’s what I think. What would anyone else have done?

    Healthcare and Financial Reform may have fallen a bit short but ultimate implementation is what matters.

    Police action in Iraq has been nicely drawn down and the set up for removals from Afghanistan has been set up. Clinton has been circling the Globe and the American face has been undergoing a much needed make over.

    What I worry about is the reassertion of a reactionary republican minority to hinder funding efforts in the alternative energy environment and the building of true 21st century infrastructure to grease the rails of entrepreneurial spirit. Remember Eisenhower!

    Policymakers at large are in the uncomfortable position of needing to slow out-of-control growth while developing pockets of new consumers around the world (in places like China and India, and, hopefully, the Middle East and African.)

    Keeping the usurers from sucking too much of the lifeblood of our civilization will be difficult. They are greedy bastards. But at least there is some hope that we will progress towards a world where human culture and human understanding are more primary to our experiencing.

    1. anonymous

      This is an astonishing comment. What would anyone else have done? I can think of a dozen sites offering informed options about what might have been done differently from the perspective of the left and from the right.

      You’ve clearly not bothered to read the central argument in the guest post, which is that whatever the intent, the current policies are not working. And with unemployment around 10 percent, those without jobs would like to have jobs.

      Yves has offered a variety of different solutions to different parts of the problem in multiple posts and generally very good links. The guest posters here are outstanding. So, there are a lot of things different people might have done differently.

      Take a look around the web. TPM has some interesting commentary on the stimulus was too small by design, Eschaton on the blogroll here is covering the same points.

      I’m one of the Obama bashers and would love to be able to say something nice about the guy, beyond he clearly loves his family and growing rich. The great seats he gets at any basketball game he wants to attend are cool, too, but not much consolation to the thirty odd million looking for work.

      1. John

        Thanks for the reply. Was looking for a good fight and not sure I would find one.

        I think you underestimate the contradictions at play. You have the pensions of the american public tied up in 401k’s, bonds, and the like…. If the financial community is brought to heel, as it should be, the savings of these and of others around the world, if the financial implosion of 08 is any indication, are gone.

        Consider in addition the ongoing role of America as the world’s policeman, the budgetary issues aligned with that, and how we draw down expenditures while keeping employees working at all those independent contractors and military hardware and software producers (the kind of manufacturing America does nowadays.)

        People get too educated. That’s what I think. And it stops them from seeing we have a world of around 6 billion people to keep alive one way or another, and 10 billion will be in the mix by around 2050.

        We can make the food. We can build the houses. We can create the infrastructure. The only question is what is it going take to get it done? And, the answer to that involves money, and money is a weird thing, especially today when around 97% of it is 0’s and 1’s.

        1. aet

          Ignore the money, there’s nothing to buy with it anyhow, and it’s a sign of mental illness to obseess about it.

          Our technology is the problem, to some extent: but that it is also the solution is obvious. but it is only a problem in that fewer toilers are required…which means less work for those who toil. Time to re-distribute some wealth, i think. Because 3 produce now what 3000 used to produce, but those 3 yet claim the same amount of profit.
          And 2997 now are unemployed.

          Standardization and automation proceed apace, all over the world. And civilization too continues to expand, as
          cities are larger and more numerous than ever before.

          No can-do optimism left in the USA?
          That is simply not possible.

    2. Tao Jonesing

      @John,

      Speaking the truth about Obama is not “bashing” him.

      And to say that Obama’s efforts on health insurance reform and financial reform have “fallen a bit short” is such a massive understatement that it defies reality. The man did NOT put his full effort into achieving any more than he “achieved” (like the individual mandate that he primary Obama opposed). Indeed, he and his administration behind the scenes actively worked against the very things Obama said he wanted in various speeches and town halls.

      The office of the President is a very powerful one, unless you don’t want it to be. Obama could have achieved much, much more if he had wanted to do so.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        “…to say that Obama’s efforts on health insurance reform and financial reform have “fallen a bit short” is such a massive understatement that it defies reality.”

        Well said. HCR and Financial Regulation were both bloated bills written by lobbyists as Trojan-horse victories for the kleptocracy, with implementation delayed for electoral strategy. It is in fact Gibbs who should be escorted to the boy’s room with a specimen cup.

      2. aet

        Bash away. Presidents only get 4-year-terms anyhow: and that Senate will check anybody who tries anything to change the status quo, anyway.

        Can one man make a difference to how 300 hundred million free people live?
        Really?

        1. NOTaREALmerican

          Re: Can one man make a difference to how 300 hundred million free people live

          The obsession of the Red and Blue Team’s true-believers with “the man” assures the outcomes. But, I guess humans have always worshiped “the man” (the hero) with the same results. While the the dumbasses wait for their hero to fix the world the smart people are looting the world.

          Different clowns, same circus.

    3. Propertius

      Au contraire, mon ami! “Healthcare reform” and “financial reform” have not fallen short at all – they have achieved their real objectives with stunning and complete success. Larger profits for the insurance companies have been essentially written into law, reimportation of pharmaceuticals has been avoided, and any hope of single-payer or its imaginary cousin, the “public option”, has been eliminated for a generation. The reimplementation of Glass-Steagall was deftly avoided, unregulated derivatives markets flourish, and nobody at Goldman is wearing an orange jumpsuit.

      All that remains is to privatize or eliminate Social Security and Medicare under the guise of deficit reduction.

      Mission accomplished! Ponies for everyone!

  24. Doug Terpstra

    “What interests me is his attempt to discredit via branding a group the Administration sees as enemies.”

    Indeed, but it’s not yet as paranoid as Nixon’s “enemies list.” Intended as a perjorative, “Professional Left” is not quite as clever as oxymoronic labels like “limousine liberal” or “cultural elitist”. “Professional” normally connotes an expert of intellectual integrity and high moral character, so it is actually quite complimentary, except of course, when applied to politician, lawyer, or press secretary.

    1. Jackrabbit

      This comment makes no sense to me.

      The Left should be comforted because the slur doesn’t rise to Nixon’s level of paranoia?

      The Left should be complemented because they’ve been labeled “Professional?”

      The term “Professional Left” was used to attack the legitimacy of the criticism being leveled at the Administration. As in “those people will never be satisfied – its their JOB to be criticial.”

      1. Doug Terpstra

        My point was that it’s not a very effective slur. Sorry if that makes no sense to you.

        1. Jackrabbit

          The term was meant to marginalize and sideline critics. It doesn’t make sense to me that anyone would belittle that – especially if they had any sympathy for those so maligned. No matter how effective it may turn out to have been, there was a malicious intent.

          1. aet

            Gibbs ought to have called them the nattering nabobs of negativity.

            Why re-invent the wheel?
            Oh right, patent and copyright laws….

          2. Doug Terpstra

            Jackrabbit: “The term was meant to marginalize and sideline critics.”

            It was ‘meant to’, sure, but it doesn’t—at all—and that’s my point. Professionalism is generally a plus, at least in my profession, though not in PR, law, or politics. I “belittle it” as poor “branding” not up to the standards of Karl Rove or David Frum.

            Now, aet has a good dig from Nixon’s VP, Spiro Agnew: “nattering nabobs of negativism.” There’s a dig I can dig.

  25. Jackrabbit

    Gibbs was probably falling back on the old maxim: “a good defense is a good offense.”

    The Administration can’t defend its compromises and concessions and is embarrassed that the left is looking past the PR to their record. Then there’s lame-brained goof-ups like Michele Obama’s recent trip to Spain which Maureen Dowd highlighted in her NYTimes column.

  26. dandelion

    One thing I hope is put to rest forever: the notion that experience doesn’t matter. Beside the very large problem with policy is the fact that this WH organization is tremendously disorganized and incompetent — witness the failure to replace the Bush-appointed states attorneys general even knowing how politicized those appointments were; witness the complete failure in the Gulf; witness the complete inability to articulate a vision that is coherent.

    The Obamamaniacs’ consistent cry that experience didn’t matter was naive and ageist (and sexist when claiming that Hillary Clinton’s experience was only “serving tea.”) The idea that he was equally experienced as Lincoln was a ludicrous and ridiculously hagiographic comparison.

    At a time when we’re involved in two wars, facing the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression, the DNC engineered the nomination of the most inexperienced person running and told us over and over that “judgment” was more important.

    Right. In what other employment scenario would any one consider that a valid argument?

    1. aet

      I have wondered that the Dems could only come up with a candidate unknown upon the national stage prior to the election of GW Bush.

      But then again, I remember CNN crowing about GW Bush’s win in 1996 in Texas. They really seemed to play that up.

      My guess is that the US political communicators/propagandists are working 10-20 year time lines when it comes to working the public’s perceptions.

      And the policies of a great State like the USA do not change over the course of a mere two or three years.
      There’s too much at stake and in play..

      Bash Obama all you want: but it ain’t his fault.
      Look to yourselves.

  27. ZT2

    “I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

    This is so funny. Obama, who took the nomination from Hillary by proving that whatever she said, he could always position himself one step to her left, discovers (now he is in office and subject to consequences resulting from things he says) that people able to say anything to stay to his left can be annoying while adding nothing of substance to the debate. How perfect.

    1. lambert strether

      ZT2 writes:

      Obama, who took the nomination from Hillary by proving that whatever she said, he could always position himself one step to her left…

      This is bogus for two reasons.

      First, it’s untrue on policy (links on request, RL calls).

      1. Health care. Hillary advocated the mandate initially, which at least had the virtue of being universal. Obama did not, and ran Harry and Louise style ads in OH against her.

      2. Housing. Hillary advocated the FDR-style HOLC, where Obama advocated that HOLC be “studied.”

      3. Executive power. Hillary voted against granting retroactive immunity to the telcos for Bush’s warrantless surveillance (FISA). Obama voted for it.

      While both candidates were well within the Washington Consensus on policy, in these three important areas at least, Hillary was to Obama’s left.

      Second, the poster ignores the role of caucus fraud committed by the Obama team in securing the nomination (affidavits linked to here).

    1. lambert strether

      Either that, or Gibbs will be the human sacrifice when Warren is not nominated.

      Incidentally, that the left is reduced to begging for a single nomination, instead of even talking about policy, shows the pathetic depths to which career “progressives” like Hamsher have sunk.

  28. Dirk

    The next DNC fund raising letter:

    Dear Obama Supporter,

    Two years ago, you helped support Change you can believe in. Instead, we have taken a large number of baby steps in the right direction. If you are upset about this, and wanted to see real fundimental change in the direction that the country is taking, go f#%k yourself.

    Please send more money,

    Sincerely,

    B.H. Obama

    1. aet

      Seven hundred days and no results?
      In a Nation of 300 million people, with 50 State governments, and countless local Councils?

      Yeah what a screw-up.
      LOL

      Get real. Fast action characterized ALL of Bush’s screw-ups.
      careful, cautious, slow and steady: the opposite of “let’s rush to war” a la Bush.

      1. NOTaREALmerican

        Redeploy Steven.
        For More Wars
        War is not (usually) to answer.

        Yup: Different clowns, same circus.

      2. Propertius

        As opposed to what FDR accomplished in *his* first 700 days:

        Social Security
        Emergency Banking Act
        WPA
        TVA
        the Wagner Act
        the FDIC
        the Gold Reserve Act
        Rural Electrification
        Agricultural Adjustment Act
        National Industrial Recovery Act
        Public Works Administration
        Wealth Tax Act
        Resettlement Act
        repeal of Prohibition ;-)
        a 57% (yes, fifty-seven) increase in GDP

        The NLRA and the Undistributed Profits tax came a few months late to count in the first 700 days ;-).

        You’re right – Obama is a paragon. Nobody could possibly have done more.

  29. Tony W.

    He was a very wise fellow:

    “I sincerely believe… that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:23

    He had many extremely rational concerns 200 years ago about money changers and finance as a threat to the Citizenry. They have to be proven to scarily valid. Now, what to do about it?

    Today, Economic interests have become so deeply buried in the pockets of folks on Capital Hill that the Money Changers are now, in effect, our Political Policy Makers. Can you imagine what Jefferson would be doing if he were alive today? I suspect, fostering another Revolution.

    It feels like Bill Gross (curious coming from him) was on the central issue: Take all direct private contributions out of Politics. Encourage Political aspirants to use Social Media and grass roots activity to get their message out.

    In this approach we would have hope for some return of balance between motivation to hold office and in turn, policy making in the best interests of “we the people”.

  30. Dirk

    If we only had a one chamber legislature, or if the Senate did not have the filibuster rule, I think that A0 progressives would be much more happy with the policies and B0 the coutry would be in much better shape.

    The house version of HC reform had the public option, overall the house version was tougher on Wall St than the Senate version, although there is some trade offs between what was finally passed and the house version. The house passed the Waxman Markey bill, which was a pretty good start ofn climate change. The Senate will not even end up voting on a very diluted (pour a shot of Johnny Walker into Lake Michigan and call the lake Scotch and Water) version. The stimulus was watered down in the Senate to make the Maine ladies happy etc etc etc.

  31. NOTaREALmerican

    The Blue Team true-believers are getting slightly confused too. A few articles on Mother Jones about this topic.

    Someone posted an interesting idea:

    I wonder if this lashing out by Gibbs is a preemptive dissing of activists before an inevitable Elizabeth Warren firestorm. As in, the White House has decided not to nominate Warren and knows it will unleash holy hell so they’re girding for battle.

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/08/pandering-center#comment-781221

    1. EmilianoZ

      The Obama administration has been so utterly predictable in doing the wrong thing that the chances of having Elizabeth Warren at the helm of the CFPB are minimal. So, the idea that they’re trying to preempt the firestorm sounds totally plausible to me.

  32. Hugh

    Corporate Democrats differ from corporate Republicans in only cosmetic ways. Both parties have set multiple and high roadblocks to third party formation.

    While all of this is true, it ignores a huge inchoate populist force out in the country looking for a voice and leaders. What has surprised me is that the left refuses to even think about working with it. When I point out the vast potential it has, the most common reaction is, “Get back to us when you have your third party already in place and your candidates are winning elections.” It’s a Catch-22. The progressive left will only consider helping to build a populist third party after it’s already built. This kind of thinking baffles me.

    I have also pointed out in the past that in swing districts a group only needs to control 5% of the vote to determine elections. That equates to leverage and you don’t even need a formal party organization to make it work.

    A final point is the possibility of a Ross Perot candidacy. This could blindside the two party system just as it did back in the 90s.

    As for Gibbs, his “outburst” looks too contrived not to have been well rehearsed. I thinks it reflects inside the bubble thinking, which is to increase enthusiasm among the base by encouraging a pseudo-conflict between liberal Democrats and the far less Democratic more independent progressive left –at the least to drown out progressive criticism of Obama. This represents a complete misreading of the reasons for widespread disenchantment with Obama and the Democrats both on the left and in the base, but I do think this is the story the Administration is telling itself.

    1. NOTaREALmerican

      Re: The progressive left will only consider helping to build a populist third party after it’s already built

      Does the “intellectual” left actually “like” the average people? The average people don’t understand fine wine, they might like NASCAR, they won’t be guilt-ridden, in FACT the average people might not even be all that “progressive” in the political “think” – perhaps even having unpleasant thoughts about “things”. Does the “intellectual” left really want to spend their time building a third part with, with, -uh- with these kind of people?

  33. steelhead23

    So, the White House is miffed that we on the left don’t line up behind the president? Dear sir, we were all dutifully lined up. It is you that took off in another direction – we’re still here, looking for that next one to stand behind. See ya.

  34. frontiervillesecrets

    As a former enthusiatic Obama supporter who donated numerous times to his campaign, the air was let out of my baloon shortly after the 2008 election. The naming of Geithner and Summers and, of course, Hillary “We can obliterate Iran” Clinton, and Robert Gates was the handwriting on the wall for me. Of course, during the campaign the characterization of Afghanistan as the good war bothered me, but I figured he felt he had to look tough to the “hawk” mentality in this country. But the evidence is in, now. Not only is Obama not a liberal, but they clearly don’t even like liberals. What they like is to be in power, by serving their corporate masters. They are one giant disappointment.

    1. dandelion

      just fyi — Hillary Clinton’s comment about “obliterating Iran” was in response to the very specific question: what would you do if Iran launched a nuclear attack against Israel? She was not discussing any sort of preemptive attack. I’m really sick of hearing her answer distorted in this sound-bite way when she was in fact only restating what has been US nuclear deterrence policy since the 1950s.

      1. propertius

        Thank you for pointing this out. U.S. strategic doctrine is and always has been:

        1) Massive retaliation
        2) Launch on warning
        3) Regard a nuclear attack on an ally as an attach on the US

        This has been the case since the Truman Administration, under Democrats and Republicans alike. All Hillary did was to articulate what has been US policy for the last six decades.

      2. attempter

        I’ve always loved the way Hillary cultists schizophrenically flip back and forth between arguing how brilliant she is and how inept or naive she is, depending on which is more convenient for the context. That sure brings back memories of the old days…

        In this case it’s:

        “No, she’s not a skilled, seasoned veteran of decades of politics, who precisely calculates the effect of any potentially inflammatory statement before she makes it, so that you can bet if she utters the very word ‘obliterate’ she means it to be taken as a generalized threat.

        No! She’s an addle-brained loose cannon who just runs off at the mouth even where it comes to war, even where it comes to a potential future nuclear confrontation. Of course that would have to mean she’s incompetent to be secretary of state, but as a cultist I won’t explicitly concede that, just imply it.

        So you professional leftists and terrorist sympathizers are just being mean when you twist her innocent stupidity to make it sound like she knows how to convey the connotation she wants to convey.”

  35. Psychoanalystus

    People forget why Obama became president to begin with: simply, the elites needed 4 more years to complete their looting job on America. But since by 2008 the country was on the brink of a revolution, another facsimile of Bush wasn’t going to cut it. The elites needed someone different — someone like Obama. That’s how Obama was *chosen* (not *elected*). And the looting continues unabated.

    Considering the revolution has not yet started, the above must be correct…

    Psychoanalystus

  36. Bernard

    it is amazing to see how stupendously well this “divide and conquer” strategy has enabled the rich to effectively loot America. too bad i won’t get to see this written in the history books. it is amazing just to watch the rich “follow through with the planned looting. i swear this is right out of “Atlas Shrugged”. it is so well scripted and planned, and so deftly executed. expertly executed upon Americans dumbed down on purpose on TV for many years. after all this time, suddenly organized resistance appears/Tea Partiers. distractions from the obvious to keep the veil on the truth. twist and turns to show how really good this script is. a made for TV” Wag the Dog on America!”

    the only real issue is how long this goes on. wonder if the history will be told.

  37. Dvidist

    Iam inspired to verse:

    A Limerick for the Lackey Left
    By The Dividist

    Said Gibbs “The left is on drugs.”
    Rahm agrees: “Just pull out the rug!”
    “They’ve nowhere to go…
    They’re retarded you know…
    In the end they’ll just come back to ‘O’”

  38. Sundog

    Solid post. Cheers Yves.

    This tweet caught my attention today. “Mark Halperin and I couldn’t recall a time when the party in power saw its numbers collapse but the party out of power also dropped lower.” @joenbc (Joe Scarborough) referencing latest NBC/WSJ poll.

  39. Francois T

    Hmmm!

    A perfect example of what my Dad used to call “The Poor Shit” syndrome.

    The actual occupants of the White House seem pretty ignorant of history. They should take a look at what FDR had to endure from the Progressive wing of his own party:

    http://goo.gl/RRcy

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