The Source of Barack Obama’s Power to Trick Us Comes from Our Willingness to Be Tricked

Jokes reveal truths, which is why the best way to appreciate the real Obama, not the fabled character of hope and change, is how he tells jokes.  He’s good at, no, great at telling jokes.  He kills at comedic performances, and his sense of timing is magnificent.  Jokes, though, show how someone really sees the world, and the joke I’m thinking of is one he made during a speech in March 2009, when the revelations of AIG’s massive retention bonuses became public.  It had been less than two months since Obama’s inauguration, but the major policy framework of the administration – the bailouts – had been laid down.  The AIG bonus scandal was outrageous to the public, a symbol of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars being funneled to an arrogant corporation that had helped destroy the economy.

Barack Obama had stepped up to the lectern to deliver a stern rebuke to AIG executives who had taken bonuses with taxpayer money.  Obama talked of the outrage of an irresponsible company, and how his administration would do everything within its power to get the money back.  But a few minutes in, he coughed, slightly, choking a bit, as his mouth was a bit dry.  But after he coughed, he stopped, and reflected on the gesture with a joke.  “I’m choked, choked with anger”, he said.  Obama chuckled.  Reporters laughed.  And it was funny, really funny.  Because everyone in the room knew that Obama wasn’t actually angry about the AIG bonuses, and never intended to do anything about it.  No one there was angry about the bonuses, and everyone knew nothing would happen to AIG executives.  The House would pass bills, which would die in the Senate.  The only people angry were Americans at large, who could not believe that their government worked for Wall Street.  So the joke was funny, ironic, cool.  But the moment wasn’t right for it, because this was a serious time for outrage – so Obama quickly reverted to form, and the teleprompter took over.

Pundits didn’t reflect on this “joke”.  No one really noted it.  It was very much like George Bush’s comment to reporters that was only later highlighted by Michael Moore, when Bush was on a golf course and perfunctorily said “we must find these terrorist killers….” and then turned to swing a golf club.  “Now watch this drive.”  Obama had risen to that level of duplicity, not a lie in the conventional sense of saying something that wasn’t true, but an entirely constructed false persona.  He had polished the tools of the Presidency – the utter banality of PR, the constipated talking points, the routine abuse of power – and taken them to a new level with a self-aware sense of irony about his own narcissistic dishonesty.  His challenge was so outrageous – I dare you to call me on what a liar I am as I joke about how much I am lying to you right now – that he turned an obnoxious bluff into art.

Obama had shown this breathtaking tendency to con people as they knew they were being conned before, the most public time during the campaign being his cynical answer when he was asked about his promise to renegotiate NAFTA.  He had said, when fighting for union votes with Clinton, “I will make sure we renegotiate (NAFTA).”  Even as he said this, it turns out that campaign advisor Austan Goolsbee had gone to Canada to assure them this was a lie (sure enough, Obama’s trade policies are identical to Bush’s, or worse).  And once the election ended, and Obama was asked about his broken promise by a reporter, he gave the following answer.

“This is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign,” President Obama said during his Transition in early December, when a reporter asked him about criticisms he and now-Secretary of State Clinton had made about each other’s foreign policy views.

“They’re your quotes, sir,” said the reporter, Peter Baker of the New York Times.

“No, I understand. And you’re having fun,” Obama continued. “And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not faulting it.”

This is cynicism as art.  It’s literally a Presidential candidate running on hope and change saying that campaign promises are a joke and a ruse.  His comments on AIG were similarly dishonest.  When Barack Obama spoke about the AIG money, he gave a well-constructed speech in which he discussed how his administration would do everything legally possible to block the payment of those bonuses.  Of course, those bonuses had been paid out days before he made the statement, so the idea that he’d “block” the bonuses was already something of deception.  His promises to do everything legal to claw back the money were also misleading – Obama didn’t get the money back, and never intended to.  In fact, the administration had weeks earlier asked Chris Dodd to insert a provision into law ensuring the AIG bonuses would be paid – and then blamed Dodd for the fiasco.

Politicians play hardball all the time.  They lie on a regular basis, it’s one of the tricks of the trade.  But Obama’s politics, and his career, are built on an exquisitely and brilliantly constructed narrative of integrity and progress.  He is the outsider become the insider, the multi-racial meritocrat whose black and white heritage came together into the ultimate conciliator and political leader.  His is the story of America, that of a brilliant Harvard Law school educated striver with roots in community organizing, who became a powerful orator, and then America’s first black President.  Progressive in spirit, cautious in temperament, he first and foremost understands the challenges facing the nation, the powerful injustice of slavery’s heritage, even though he ultimately finds solace in his belief in America, in American institutions, and in the ultimate goodness of the American way of life.

But there is another narrative, a real narrative about Barack Obama and his administration.  Obama is the ultimate cynic, a dishonest, highly reactionary social and corporate ladder climbing con artist.  Obama is the guy who calls a female reporter “sweety”, who plays poker with the guys, and who thinks that his senior advisor’s decision to cash out after making a “modest” salary of $172,000 at the White House is just natural.  He’s the guy who used the rationale that he’s a father of two girls as to why he doesn’t want young women to have access to Plan B.  He was in favor of gay marriage in 1996, flip flopped for political reasons, and then pretended to change his mind as a matter of conscience.  He runs on populism with a worse record than George W. Bush on income inequality.  His narcissism, and the post-modern ironic sense of self-awareness of how his narrative is put together and tended, is his defining character trait.  It’s not just that he’s a liar.  Lyndon Johnson was a liar, but LBJ lied us into a war in Vietnam as well as a war on poverty.  FDR lied all the time, for good and ill.  Obama’s entire edifice is based on lying almost entirely to help sustain his image, with almost no interest in sound policy-making.  Obama understands the threat of climate change, but like the exceptional con artist he is, what happens to others he does not know, or what happens in the future, is irrelevant to him.  He understands banking, and war, and women’s issues, and corruption and Citizens United.  Like a great con artist, he has studied his mark, the American voter, and specifically the Democratic voter, and he undersands which buttons to push.

Many criticize Obama, with the idea that he doesn’t understand, and if only he understood, he would change his mind.  This is part of his false narrative of hope and change.  But Obama reads Paul Krugman – he studied the left intensely and spent years as a community organizer.  He understands his opposition, those crying out for justice against the powerful, and finds them laughable, finds in them weakness at best, a punchline at worst.  He reads his left-wing opponents so he can absorb the talking points, and rebut them.  Some think that Obama can be appealed to around the better angels of nature, that he’s naturally with “the left” but must be gently praised.  But again, this is more of the false hope and change narrative.  Obama understands Saul Alinsky.  He gets left-wing ideas.  But he hates the left, with the passion of any bully towards his victims.  To him, they are chumps, weak, pathetic, losers.  They are such pathetic losers, in fact, that they will believe anything he tells them.  And Obama has no better nature, he is what he’s done in office, someone who murders children with drone strikes and then jokes about it to his rich friends.

Yves wrote about this narrative a few weeks ago, when she pointed out his career in the Illinois state Senate was based on working for billionaire developers to destroy poor neighborhoods.   Few really gets who he is, at his core, and almost no one is willing to publicly point it out.  There are some who went to law school with him, who saw his enormous grasping social climbing tendencies, his eager corporate good old boy persona, his narcissistic calculations.  But they are drowned out by the institutional left-wing voices, the fanboy reporters, the sycophantic labor leaders, the slavishly worshipful foundations, and the voters who cannot hear any alternative to the hope and change they know and love.  The only mainstream narrative challenging hope and change is the stupid right-wing storyline that he’s a Kenyan Muslim socialist.  That’s just racist idiocy.  But there are those on the right who understand Obama’s narcissism, and they may just make that their electoral narrative.

Think about this problem in a slightly different way.  It’s been three years.  Why hasn’t been there a great iconic impersonator of Barack Obama, like Tina Fey and Sarah Palin or Will Ferrell (or James Adomian) and George W. Bush?  A comic impersonator reveals something about the core of an individual.  The people imitating Obama seem to think that he’s far more left-wing and principled beneath the surface, that if he let out who he really was, how really angry he is at the Republicans, that’s the parody they hit.  It falls flat, because it’s not true to who he is.  The truth is that he’s a narcissistic sociopath dressed up as a cool corporate brand.  The real Obama parody is an Obama who wears an Air Force One fleece over an Obama t-shirt, who says to a reporter “Now hang on, let me finish, speaking slowly and avoiding your question, which is, by the way excellent.”  He’s President, and if you’re upset with him, don’t worry, look at that beautiful photo of Obama smiling and pointing.

This alternative narrative is a hard truth to hear, because it carries with it an implicit rejection of American exceptionalism.  Yes, American institutions are no better, and in many ways are more malignant, than those of many other countries.  Yes, our political leaders, our press, our military leadership, operate in service to sociopathic aims.  Yes, our freedoms are often an illusion, unless you fit a very narrow criteria.  Yes, our banks are run to rob us, yes, our CIA spies on us, and yes, our government is fundamentally anti-democratic.  Yes, our President is a con artist, and yes, nearly every reporter who writes about him participates in this set of lies, because of careerism, social financial reasons, or a simple lack of competence or imagination.

But, the idea that the king is always good, which is where the hope and change narrative draws its deep strength, is something we do not have to accept.  We as people can break this spell, and speak to our own dignity, as citizens.  We can learn our own power, if in no other manner than in saying at the voting booth and in public, “I do not accept your lies, and though you might take it by force, I will not grant you my consent willingly.”  We can choose not to address our political officials by their titles.  We can work to organize ourselves, and our lives, with those of us who understand that power is something that must be taken, with money, organization, but most of all, with moral courage.  It is not something that politicians have except through our consent, consent we have been giving for decades, to a rotten political class.  This is what they truly fear.  This is why they spend tens of billions on propaganda, on advertising, on symbols and personalities and celebrity.  This is why they hide the workings of our government and banks and institutions of power in the language of boring bureaucrat-ese.  This is ultimately why they are weak.  Because in order for them to do their work quietly, we must go about our day, and believe either the hope and change narrative, or the Kenyan socialist narrative, scoffing at the opposing “team” who thinks what we do not.  Instead, we can choose an alternative narrative, that power and consent come from us, come from the choices that we make, as people, and as citizens.  And we will no longer believe that Barack Obama, that cool, brilliant, self-aware con artist is anything but what he has revealed himself to be.

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About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. Shutterbuggery

    Jack Kennedy could tell a joke. Obama IS a joke.

    Note the difference and mark it well.

    Nobody in the USA should have had any doubt about Obamas loyalty to the Tories after Judd Gregg.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Obama is a Diamond-backed Rattlesnake in a Suit–the quintessential model of “Snakes in Suits”–a confirmed sociopath Agent of the .01% “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII.”

      It’s not that “he’s not Black enough” – he’s not Black at all. His body is a mask.

    2. Westcoastliberal

      No Hope. No Change. No Obama.
      You’ve hit the nail squarely. We are at the point in U.S. Politics where the discourse is no longer Liberals vs Conservatives, Dems vs Gop.
      Now, it’s us vs them.

      1. Synopticist

        i know this is going to get me torn to shreds here,, but don’t trick yourselves into thinking Romney isn’t far, far worse.

        1. jake chase

          These lame laments for liberalism just makes me tired. Since 1960, when Joe Kennedy grabbed control of it, the Democratic Party hasn’t produced so much as a strong fart in the direction of social progress. Over the course of fifty years, it has produced every now and then, for our delectation and amusement, the administrations of a café society womanizer, a bloviating bagman, a religion addled dilettante, a hillbilly conman, and now, a jive talking Tombama, the latest incarnation of the Democratic mantra: just imagine how much worse the Republican alternative might be!

          I don’t care how much worse he will be. At least he will be running for reelection the entire four years, which Tombama will not be doing. This country survived Hoover, and Nixon, and Reagan and Bush I and II. It will also survive Romney.

          Those of you hoping for change should do your hoping on picket lines and in massive demonstrations. Emma Goldman told you, if elections changed anything they would stop holding ‘em.

          1. just me

            No mention of the Civil Rights Act or the War on Poverty, all during LBJ’s term of office? He got a lot wrong, but he did that much good too. And while you’re spitting on Joe Kennedy, no mention of his sons, Robert or Teddy Kennedy? Did you see Bill Moyers last week when Peter Edelman was his guest, revisiting footage of Robert Kennedy’s tour of poverty in the South in 1967? I loved the Kennedys. And I can’t stand Obama, but I also can’t stand your “Tombama” epithet. And I think it misses the mark.

            Best wishes.

          2. Gus

            Ever hear of Medicare? Medicaid? The Civil Rights Act? You’re a historically ignorant dumbass. You dipshits don’t seem to understand the choice isn’t between good and bad. It’s between bad and immeasurably worse. Get used to the idea.

          3. Murray Reiss

            Survived Nixon? There’s a wall in Washington with the names of over 50,000 young Americans who didn’t survive him at all. Add a few milllion Vietnamese who don’t rate a wall. The survival rate isn’t really all that great.

          4. Binky Bear

            So the Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, Great Society were all farts in the wind? Must be nice to be so sheltered and so pale.

          5. PaulArt

            Brillant! Joe Kennedy! Never knew this, any book written about this? I always thought it was Al From, Tip O Neil and Jim Wright who started the money bag parade. Also that quote from Emma Goldman, brilliant!

          6. Grim

            Blaming the Vietnam war on Nixon is placing blame about a decade too late.

            The so-called “war on poverty” has been about as successful as the war on drugs. The US welfare programs extend the poverty cycle and contribute to the destruction of the family unit rather than helping to lift people out of poverty. It simply doesn’t work. Clinton knew this and was able to successfully pass a working welfare reform package (part of which Obama has since overturned).
            The Civil Rights act was obviously a great success.

            The Voting Rights act was extremely important for a couple of decades, but is now being used as a club by the Federal Government against the states.

            Medicare is near-bankrupt and Obama cut an additional $500 billion in funding without any significant reform.

            Medicare part D was fairly successful and largely came in under budget under GWB, although we didn’t have the money to pay for it in the first place Odd that the most successful social spending program of the last 30 years came from a Republican.

            No Child Left Behind and the Americans with Disabilities Act were huge social legislative items. Both are horrible pieces of legislation (the ADA might actually be worse than Obamacare).

          1. rotter

            We would be better off with romney. at least the democrats would be forced beack into the opposition -so then at least there would even BE an opposition (to the march of neoliberal austerical, murderous, imperialism). Presently, there is not.

        2. Roman Berry

          Ya know, you say that…but what Romney may be isn’t the issue. What Obama is, is.

          1. jake chase

            this is just for justme,

            civil rights act, war on poverty, medicare- a collection of sensible gestures senslessly muddled by academic dogooders, trickle down posturing, mostly oppressive and degrading to the supposed beneficiaries, mostly beneficial to an army of sociological professionals, earning middle class salaries telling poor people how to live on what they do not have. Medicare has pretty much destroyed the medical profession and insured the stranglehold of the pharma industry.

            As for the Kennedeys, all three of them, prep school twerps unable to control their own upstart organs, creations of nonstop public relations fantasy, their legacies a consequence of tragic gunplay. And I bet you think Teddy drove off that bridge by accident.

        3. different clue

          Romney is far far more honest. And under Romney the worseness would have a Republican label. And the so-called “Democrats” in the Senate would have a chance to declare whether they value their party label brand value or not.

        4. jonboinAR

          If the essay points out the truth about Obama, (and it rings pretty true to me), how COULD Romney be much worse? If Obama already represents corporate interests, what’s Romney going to do, REALLY represent them?

    3. Teejay

      Shutterbuggery: ‘Sure hope you see this question. Can you
      expand on and complete your thought about Judd Gregg? All I
      can do is guess as to what you mean precisely. BO offer JG
      a post (Commerce Secretary I think). JG accepted and a short time later reneged. Is this what you’re alluding to
      and if so what about it? What’s your point?

    1. ohmyheck

      In regards to “Our Willingness To Be Tricked”, this could be exemplified in the words of Mark Twain:

      “When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly up-end a man’s moral constitution and make a temporary fool of him besides, what excuse are you going to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, perpetuating it?
      Shall you say, the best good of the country demands allegiance to party? Shall you also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing lunatic, besides?”
      –Samuel Clemens – “Consistency”, paper read at the Hartford Monday Evening Club (excerpt); December 5th, 1887. The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, First De Capo Press Edition, p. 582; 2000.

        1. ohmyheck

          This is a good question. I found it on Facebook, and I did not actually investigate that it is truly from Twain.

  2. Anonymous

    Because Obama is a Freemason just like the rest of the elite and no one knows anything about this secret cult.

    1. Jack Headstrong

      Read Tolstoy’s War and Peace. You’ll learn a little about the Freemasons.

        1. CB

          And lived to tell the story. I’m impressed, I only read the 23 pounds abridged version. Had to renew the library checkout three times.

          1. jonboinAR

            Took about a year, but I actually enjoyed it. His characters were vivid and their stories compelling. Actually, if there were freemasons, I’m not surprised I’ve forgotten (I may also have skipped parts.)

          2. Roland

            In W & P, Pierre joins the Freemasons as part of his personal quest for truth and a meaning in life. But his experiences at Borodino, and later in captivity, lead Pierre away from Freemasonry.

            For me, W & P is like soul food. I re-read it every year. As Tolkien remarked of the Lord of the Rings, “the book is too short.”

            I especially enjoy Tolstoy’s rants about historiography and the philosophy of history. It gives me a chance to put aside the dialectical materialism for a bit.

  3. Goin' South

    Some saw this a long time ago.

    Adolph Reed, who taught at Northwestern at the time, wrote this in the Village Voice in 1996:

    In Chicago, for instance, 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, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      From “Black” Trojan Horse for the .01% in Chicago to the same in the White House. Barack Obama always has been a Trojan Horse for the Global .01%.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        AND I was completely conned by him and his machine. Not any more. Never again will I be moved to advance the “career” of the “The Confidence Man,” Barack Obama. He is Mockery of Democracy personified, the very “Devil.”

          1. English Memorial

            Isn’t it sad? People just can’t fundamentally get that ALL politicians are like this, because the state is no more than a means of theft and violent coercion writ large. Of COURSE it will attract the lowest of the low, the slimiest of the slimy, who yearn only to enrich themselves and exercise power over others. And yet people think that the next guy, give HIM the gun of the state and all our problems will be solved!

            Withdraw your consent to a system of violent coercion. What if they threw an election, and nobody showed up?

            Politics is not the solution. Politics and violent coercion are the problems.

            Freedom is the solution.

  4. bloodnok

    most readers of this site are well aware of what a fraud president hopey/changey is. but what’s the alternative? president magic underpants? sure is going to be fun trying to decide which of these loathsome 1% pukes to tick the box for. so looking forward to it ….

      1. 2laneIA

        Here’s why not. Every election is a choice, and you may not like either of your choices. I don’t. But if you live in a swing state (I do) you will be voting in a close election. It is likely that three Supreme Court justices will be appointed in the next administration. If the Roberts Court if able to solidify an ultra-conservative majority, we will be stuck with a reactionary political court for a generation, and God only knows what will be left of the Constitution when they are done with it. Obama will appoint different people to that court than Romney will appoint. For that reason, even if there aren’t any others, you should vote for him if you live in Iowa, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Virgnia, North Carolina, or New Hampshire.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          What a joke. What, I hope your head isn’t made out of the same material as your country lane–gravel.

          The Supreme Court? It’s too far gone my friend.

          They’ve suckered you into a false fight. There is no ameliorating effect to getting neoliberal Democrats on the Court.

          Any sort of positive the Democrats or Obama could bring to the Supreme Court (and I won’t even grant you that) is outweighed by the negatives. Obama is legalizing the assassination of American citizens. He is drone bombing children. He is starting illegal war after war. Obama, because he is perceived as left, legitimizes lawbreaking because when he does it both the “left” and right are doing it so it must be okay.

          Voting for Obama in Iowa is foolish. You are voting for a war criminal.

          But hey. Whatever. As I told my liberal Iowa friend that is also fooled by Obama . . . I weep for you. And us. It saddens me to see even smart people I love and trust support killing. I know they wouldn’t kill defenseless children in Yemen, for instance. Yet they vote for a guy that does!!!!!!!!!! Yet they give money to Obama because they are tricked into thinking Romney is worse.

          It really saddens me. You don’t know it buy you are far more dangerous than a right-wing racist warmonger. You are a warmonger and you don’t know it. You actually think you’re doing good . . . you poor dear. Rather, you’re saying that you have no problem ripping middle eastern children to shreds.

          1. ohmyheck

            Well, I can thank my lucky stars that there is a thing called The Electoral College, because it allows me to vote my conscience. I live in Utah—hello, Mormon Ground Zero— and there is No Way In H-E-Double-Toothpicks that Utah’s Electoral count will go to anyone but Romney.

            I’ve often thought The Electoral College unfair, but at this point, it works for me.

          2. America, Inc.

            I suppose we ought to thank Obama for curing us of the “but the Supreme Court” mantra that kept us holding our noses and voting for the dems for so many years. With only a few exceptions, the whole lot have been voting 9-0 against the 99% since Nixon. It’s called the corporate veto and it’s based on hot air, not the consitution.

            Given that the 1% have captured both parties, it can’t make any difference whether you vote or if you do, for whom.

          3. stevo67

            Agreed walter. Besides, if the political scene shifts enough to when true Progressives win Congress and the White House (which may be a long time coming) history shows that you can take on the Supreme Court and win. The Court may be the most reactionary branch of government, but it’s also the weakest politically. Every time the court tried to interfere against a politically popular initiative, from the removal of the Cherokees in Georgia (which was popular in the 1840’s, if not morally right) to the New Deal, the Court lost. All it takes is for the POTUS to have the balls to fight them, and enough support in Congress to make whatever threats effective.

            Impeachment of justices can be incredibly effective, and there are at least two current sitting judges , Thomas and Scalia, that in previous eras would be kicked off the court for ethics violations. Would that there were men or women of principle in Washington to see this through – but in a few more years of Democrat/Republican misrule – there may be.

          4. Jim Haygood

            Jimmy Carter takes a public stance that parallels Walter Wit Man’s, denouncing the bipartisan consensus that has brought us the assassination of American citizens and the drone bombing of children:


            Obviously Jimmy Carter is not going to be on the campaign trail shilling for Odiobama, though the morally flexible Clintons — ever available to pimp for a price — surely will be.

            Sad that Jimmy Carter’s principles derive from an American culture that don’t exist no more. Your papers, please.

          5. CB

            I believe Hillary by law can not. Bill would, I’ll bet, love to soak up the crowds, but I’m not sure he’ll be asked. If Bill Clinton does anything, I’m thinking out of the way, in places the national press doesn’t cover.

          6. run75441


            What does any of what you commented on have to do about replacing retiring justices with progressive and moderate justices? Your ad hominem obscures the issue to what was stated by the poster. Today, Kennedy is the “decider” as Boy George would call it. Scalia is also getting close to retirement. SCOTUS still can over rule.

          7. CB

            Why is Scalia getting close to retirement? There’s no mandatory retirement age for SC justices. There should be, but there isn’t. More than one elderly and failing SC justice has dozed off on the bench.

        2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

          I live in Ohio. I voted for Obama in 2008, and I won’t do it again.

          The Supreme Court argument doesn’t work for me anymore. We’d lose decisions by worse than 5-4!

          We still lose. And we’re going to keep losing if we keep doing the same thing over and over.

          For instance, voting for corrupt “lesser evils” like Obama.

          1. peterpaul

            The only vote that counts is the one in your wallet. Choose where, when, and how you will spend and save your money wisely and we will get the reform we want, eventually.

          2. different clue

            I still have money, even after federal taxes. And for whom have they gone wild? Not rich people, certainly.

            Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.

        3. ArkansasAngie

          By golly … you’ve fallen for it again. You can ONLY vote for which ever of the two is your lesser of two evils.

          Horse manure. A vote for Obomber or Ramboney is a vote for continued slavery for the 99%.

          Neither a Republican nor Democrat be.

        4. EH

          Your standards aren’t high enough, and your voting rationale does a disservice to your fellow citizens.

        5. Lambert Strether

          Pretty funny. IIRC, in 2008 Obama was a transformative figure. Remember hope and change? I do. And now the very same cast of characters (to be fair, not all of them paid trolls) are saying the reason to vote for Obama is that the Supreme Court will be less bad. What a sad indication of moral and intellectual collapse.

          Can somebody explain to me why the Supreme Court is important when the rule of law doesn’t apply anymore? (Not just for Obama whacking US citizens with no due process, but for fraud committed by banks.)

          I keep asking Obama apologists this question, but they never answer. Intra-cranial splatterfest, I guess….

          1. run75441


            You are kidding right? In the Law there are no rules and the Law is open to interpretation by the courts be it SCOTUS or lower. Gun Laws were struck down by another interpretation of the law not involving the 2nd Amendment.

            “In United States v. Cruikshank,a case often cited as controlling law by Handgun Control, Incorporated and other anti-gun organizations,the United States Supreme Court upheld the Klan’s repressive actions against blacks in the South. The case involved two men ‘of African descent and persons of color’ who had their weapons confiscated by more than 100 Klansmen in Louisiana. The indictment in Cruikshank charged, inter alia, a conspiracy by Klansmen to prevent blacks from exercising their civil rights, including the right of assembly and the right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes. The Court held that because such rights, including free speech and the right to keep and bear arms, existed independently of the Constitution, and the first and second amendments guaranteed only that such rights shall not be infringed by the federal government, the federal government had no power to punish a violation of such rights by private individuals or the states. The fourteenth amendment offered no relief, the Court held, because the case involved a private conspiracy and not state action. The Court stated that the aggrieved citizens could seek protection and redress only from the state government of Louisiana and not from the federal government.”

            The reason one wishes or hopes for the right select of justices to occupy the COA and SCOTUS is the manner of interpretation of the law. In this case, Cruikshank was again gerrymandered in interpretation without overturning it to allow the carrying of lethal weapons where ever which is complete BS to this X-Marine.

        6. Dan Kervick

          I agree. Obama sucks. Romney sucks. Two obsequious twits who work for the plutocracy. But America is a two-chambered cage with no escape – just a passage back and forth between the chambers. Sotomayor and Kagen are better than Alito and Roberts. That’s about all it comes down to at this point. Everything else will suck just as badly no matter who wins – especially economically.

          As far as the election goes, I think people shouldn’t waste too much time paying attention to the drivel it produces. Pick the lesser of two evils on election day, but devote your limited political time and energy to grass roots change.

          1. Jim Haygood

            @Dan Kerwick — you were doin’ great till you said ‘pick the lesser of two evils on election day.’

            WHY??? That is just cultural brainwashing bypassing your rational faculties.

            DON’T vote Depublicrat! Stay the hell away, vote third party, or vote write-in. And convince as many others as possible to do the same.

            Voting for stinking, murdering Depublicrats dirties your soul. You deserve better.

          2. different clue

            There are other choices. And I mean OTHer other choices, choices OTHer than the RepubliGreen Naderites, if the RepupliGreen Naderites are not to your taste. Socialists, libertarians, different things.

            And if one decides to vote for one of the Big Two, one doesn’t have to do it for “lesser evil” reasons. One can vote for Romney out of pure spite and hatred against the so-called “Democrats” and their Obama.

          3. 2laneIA

            Here is what I am doing: helping a state senate candidate in Iowa. Wisconsin teaches us that the state legislatures are our first bulwark against the Koch Brothers and we need to defend them. Iowa is one state senate seat away from being entirely controlled by the GOP. I am really disassociated from the presidential race.

        7. Strangely Enough

          The SCOTUS argument would carry far more weight if Obama hadn’t replaced one of the better Justices re civil liberties with an out and out authoritarian.

          1. Argive

            Today, the Court voted 5-4 to strike down mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles. Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion. How would a justice appointed by President McCain or Romney have voted?

          2. Fiver

            This response is to Argive:

            That such revolting substitution of revenge for justice ever existed is testament to just how far things have deteriorated.

            While this was a good decision, it cost the elite precisely nothing. A chip from a bone tossed here and there over a period of years is the sum total of “progressive” wins in the Court or anywhere else. It’s how the process works when elite interests are at stake that drives social equity overall – including replacing the entire Court.

        8. ohmyheck

          Hey, 2lanelA is a good egg, from my DKos days, so cut him some slack. May be right or wrong on the SCOTUS voting, but very well-informed on the whole. Just my 2 cents…

          1. F. Beard

            but I have become suspicious of Jewish economists such as Marx, von Mises, Rothbard, Milton Friedman, etc. Brilliant yes, but always with a fatal flaw.

          2. Lambert Strether

            @Beard, that’s appalling. Did I just hear you say that Marx and Friedman were flawed economists because they were Jews?

            Maybe they’re not just your kind of Samaritan?

          3. F. Beard

            that’s appalling. Lambert Strether

            Yes, it is and I thought better of posting it till I accidentally hit “Submit Comment.” I couldn’t just leave “Call me a bigot” hanging, could I?

            Did I just hear you say that Marx and Friedman were flawed economists because they were Jews? Lambert Strether

            Very brilliant but flawed. I don’t know how else to explain it. Marx, for example was a gold-bug and Friedman believed in choice EXCEPT wrt money.

            It’s not a suspicion I’ve acquired willingly; I was a big fan of Friedman and Rothbard for along time.

          4. F. Beard

            Maybe they’re not just your kind of Samaritan? LS

            I’m sure Marx didn’t mean it to happen but how many people have died because of Marxism? And how many were killed in Chile because of Milton Friedman?

          5. F. Beard

            “Sigh” MLTPB

            Yep, economists are dangerous people. Too Left and not enough goods and services are produced; too Right and the distribution is unjust; too libertarian and previous injustices are ignored.

          6. Aquifer

            Yo, Beard! You can put your mind at rest because she is NOT – an economist! or do you have a thing about Jewish physicians, such as Stein (or physicists, such as Einstein), as well?

            You do need to clarify your self described “bigotry” ….

        1. Aquifer

          You are right – she is not a “no brainer” – she has a brain! And a good one, and a heart, and guts and all that other good stuff that D/Rs lack. The latter are the choice for folks with no brains …

          Our problem is that we have been voting without using our brains for far too long – our elections have been “no – brainers” for years ….

          1. F. Beard

            I MIGHT vote for her based on your recommendation but seriously I have become very suspicious of Jewish intellectuals. They seem to be in some kind of struggle with God and we Gentiles are caught in-between!

      2. Gus

        Yeah, ’cause that’s not futile. Get a front row seat to watching the whole place go down in flames.

  5. Norman

    Until the opposing forces here in this country realize and admit that we are all in this together, we will continue to see the decline of our society. Perhap, just perhaps, if one morning both sides awoke to find that their financial balance sheet was a big fat “ZERO”, then. . . . . . . . . . . but that would fall under the hopey/changy/feel good thing we have today. I think investing in K-B Jelly stock is probably the better bet vs a change for the peoples winning back what has been lost. Where is that white knight when needed?

    1. CB

      I decided some time ago to vote third party or write-in. I’m guessing Obama wins by plurality.

      1. F. Beard

        That’s my guess too. I think the Republicans want to lose this one but if not then they win big with a proper fascist.

  6. F. Beard

    But, the idea that the king is always good, which is where the hope and change narrative draws its deep strength, is something we do not have to accept. Matt Stoller

    Has the Left NEVER read the Old Testament? Just read 1st and 2nd Kings and one will note that nearly ALL of Judah’s and Israel’s kings were bad and that even the best of them sinned seriously.

    Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. Jeremiah 17:5

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      As you know, I Samuel 8 makes it CLEAR why Kings mean slavery of “subjects.”

    2. YesMaybe

      I think this line of thought (the author’s, not yours) is wrong. The left doesn’t subscribe to the notion that “the king is always good.” Not, at least, when we’re talking about the country’s king. I mean, we all remember the Bush years: the left can criticize the president and even joke about how he should be assassinated or die in an accident. The issue isn’t the belief in “American exceptionalism”, though that is no doubt of major significance in the broader context. The issue is belief in “my-party exceptionalism”. And underlying it, of course, is belief in “my own exceptionalism”. Naturally, the overall point of the post is right. It’s like this, and has been for a long time:

      ‘An illustrious politician has said that “you can not fool all the people all the time,” but in a case where the people in question are sedulously fooling themselves all the time the politicians can come near achieving that ideal result.’
      — Thorstein Veblen: Absentee Ownership.

      1. F. Beard

        Speaking of: I just received today “The Theory of the Leisure Class” and “The Theory of Business Enterprise” by T. Veblen.

        I imagine I will read the first and be glad I was born poor.

        1. YesMaybe

          Both good (though the latter is a bit dry/boring unless you’re into that kind of thing… which you might be since you follow this blog). But Absentee Ownership is in a class by itself (and, unlike those two, is sadly not available online).

          1. F. Beard

            I just added “Absentee Ownership” to my wish list. I generally prefer paper books anyway.

        2. jake chase

          Read Business Enterprise first. It could make you rich if you still have anything left. Leisure Class is amusing, not terribly valuable.

          1. F. Beard

            Two things I asked of You,
            Do not refuse me before I die:
            Keep deception and lies far from me,
            Give me neither poverty nor riches;
            Feed me with the food that is my portion,
            That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?”
            Or that I not be in want and steal,
            And profane the name of my God.
            Proverbs 30:7-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [emphasis added]

    3. Harold

      The idea that the king is always good is not a liberal or left-wing idea. The author has introduced it purely as a straw man.

  7. MIWill

    “We can choose not to address our political officials by their titles.”

    And let’s dispense with using elites in describing these thugs.

  8. LeonovaBalletRusse

    ALERT: follow the money and the DNA – – headline:

    “Chesapeake names ex-CONOCO chief DUNHAM chairman” (caps mine).

    Barry’s mother = Dunham: connect w/ Geithner, CIA, Ford Foundation. Isn’t it likely that Barry & Timmy “grew up” as ex-pats together in Muslim country? What were their parents doing there, actually? What does this imply today?

      1. Walter Wit Man

        What part is fantasy?

        What part of the above speculation is over the top? This website has lots of speculation that assumes TPTB are up to no good. This very post speculates that Obama is deceptive and is implementing a different agenda than the one he is promising . . . a sort of conspiracy in other words.

        From Wikipedia: “Geithner spent most of his childhood in other countries, including present-day Zimbabwe, Zambia, India, and Thailand where he completed high school at the International School Bangkok.”

        His father became head of the Ford Foundation Asia Program. Obama’s mother worked for the Ford Foundation in Asia, as well as US AID.

        Both US AID and the Ford Foundation are known front groups for the CIA. Also, there is a lot of other evidence that Obama’s family was in intelligence. There is also a lot of other circumstantial evidence that Obama himself was in intelligence.

        It is likely Obama’s 1996 autobiography was written by Bill Ayers and fictionalized Obama’s past.

        There is also a new book out about Obama’s childhood. A close friend of Obama Senior’s never saw Ann or this baby hanging around during the time this supposedly happened. Also, the family admits baby Obama and Ann never lived at the grandparents’ house, as previously claimed.

        See also this explosive information about Obama’s NASA past:

        I’m sorry but I think the above information is much more interesting/newsworthy/worth further study than the pleas from mostly Democrats to stop asking questions about it.

        When there is a concerted effort by TPTB to convince us not to look at something and that if anyone does they’re “crazy”, then it’s a sing to me there is something there. Just like the birth certificate information. I too was tricked in the beginning that thinking it was a crazed right-wing character assassination attack. But now it seems TPTB want us to think this is a Donal Trump/Joe Aparao thing to discredit the information.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Walter: A relationship between two entities is proffered with no evidence other than that they share a name. If “fantasy” offends you, how about “horseshit that falls below the baseline for even kindergarten-level CT?”

          Hey, what about Dunham cigarettes? Oh, wait. Dunhill. Sorry. Oh, wait, maybe they changed it to conceal the relationship.

          Horseshit fertilizes my garden real well, but it pollutes this thread.

          * * *

          1. Walter Wit Man

            I agree there doesn’t appear to be a connection between this company and Obama’s family.

            But maybe LRS was using it as a rhetorical hook to speculate about Geithner and Obama sharing a similar history? That is a useful inquiry. My guess is it’s simply a coincidence, but it’s interesting.

            Whether there is a connection to the Geithners or not, I would like to know more about Obama’s history.

            Maybe both Geithner and Obama were NASA space kids? Ha. Actually it’s not funny because Obama may have been a victim of mind control.

            I just discovered that there are naked pictures taken of Obama’s mother and this might be the connection between Obama’s “real” father, Frank Marshall Davis, and Obama’s mother: (NSFW) Some people claim the pictures were taken at Davis’s home. This is odd that Obama’s grandfather’s friend, who also has *odd* political affiliations consistent with intelligence work, came to take nude photos of his friend’s much younger daughter.

            Obama had some sort of relationship with “Frank.” Of course I don’t buy the communist angle. The right-wing is focusing on this part of the story but I imagine the communism was a cover for some other operation.

            Anyway, really interesting stuff. There should be more evidence of the relationship between Obama’s claimed parents if that is indeed the case. Where are the pictures of the two with their baby? How come their classmates don’t remember the relationship?

            We need speculation to help us get closer to the truth because the truth is being hidden from us. Obama’s story doesn’t make sense and the way things keep going I won’t be surprised to find out that both Giethner and Obama were secret NASA sex slaves, or something.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            The video above is 25 minutes and is a right-wing presentation about Obama’s “real” father.

            This shorter video focuses more on the photo angle: (NSFW)

            I think the last one may be right-wing too. Again, I think the right-wingers are trying to say Ann is sexually deviant or something, when it appears more likely she was a victim herself. They are also implying Obama has a communist agenda because his “real” father may have had a communist party cover. That’s silly.

            It’s for these reasons that it’s the right-wing that gets to release this information.

            Plus, its interesting for leftists to check out what the right-wingers are looking at on occasion. In this case the right-wingers are closer to the mark than the Democrats. We need to ask questions.

          3. riverdaughter

            Good luck with that, Lambert. I guess they don’t realize there’s plenty of material to work with without making s^%& up.

            BTW, Are you going to Philly for the Occupy thing? Let me know and I’ll bop on down.

          4. JTFaraday

            You know, I bet if Andrew Breitbart hadn’t fulminated himself into a heart attack, he would have found them.

          5. Walter Wit Man

            If there’s anything watching Teen Mom on MTV has taught me it’s that when the baby daddy sticks around for the birth, and promises to help out, it’s all smiles at the birth.

            Especially for a first child.

            If Obama Sr. promised to stick around at the birth and was present for a period afterward why don’t we have the plethora of pictures of the happy couple with child? Does this ring true to you? Have you ever known a couple to not take a bunch of pictures of their first child?

            Did the Dunhams not have the money for a camera? Do the Dunhams seem like the type of family that was racist or worried about their family image so they didn’t take any pictures?

        2. different clue

          Computer matching or same-size overlaying of the photos of the man on the beach and Grissom could reveal a match or a countermatch. To my amateur eye, they look different in some ways. The man on the beach has a longer narrower chin and Grissom has a shorter wider chin, for example.

          “Sometimes we wear the tinfoil, and sometimes the tinfoil wears us.”

          1. Walter Wit Man

            The NASA connection is the weakest of the above claims. I included it because I found it interesting.

            The analysis is not tin foily though.

            It’s using the words Obama allegedly wrote in his first book in 1995 and then fact checking it and analyzing those words. Obama claimed to have an experience with a NASA astronaut and an simulator.

            If you see from the link below to this article,, there is compelling evidence that Obama did not write his first book so who knows if we can rely on Obama’s NASA vignette. We know many of the vignettes in Obama’s book are false; like his claim to see his reflection in the mirror or his claim to fight with his white girlfriend over race after a play. So maybe Ayers simply made up the vignette about NASA for dramatic flair (he uses nautical imagery throughout most of the book which helps prove his authorship).

            But then there is the beach picture. It does look like the astronaut to me but maybe I’m biased. I don’t know, maybe there isn’t a connection. But the Obamas do seem to be associated with spooks and hanging out with NASA spooks is not farfetched.

            But the real explosive link above is the one about Obama’s mother posing nude for her father’s friend, Frank. Obama does look similar to Frank to me so maybe this is really Obama’s father. If they didn’t have a romantic relationship why is she posing nude for him? Wouldn’t this be weird to do with your father’s friend when you can’t be older than 20 and he’s in his 50s? Was she a victim of a mind control program or some other sick plan? Or did she do it just to make a buck? Was she sexually abused?

        3. mary

          @Walter (and BalletRusse)

          So Obama and Geithner are NASA space robots
          with an int’l. upbringing in common as well
          as mind control? Naked pictures?
          “But maybe LRS was using it as a rhetorical hook to speculate about Geithner and Obama sharing a similar history? That is a useful inquiry. My guess is it’s simply a coincidence, but it’s interesting.”

          Well I just can’t resist, David Chase is
          better at than you:

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Well, that was kinda funny.

            But there is a basis for LBR to speculate about a connection/similarity between Obama and Geithner whereas the similarity between Notre Dame and Nostradamus or hunchback with quarterback is rather silly.

            Since I’m taking the ‘open minded’ position I considered if there was anything to it but quickly gave up and conclude its a silly joke (that would have been cool if there really were a significant connection worth pondering and the other characters dismissed the inquisitive character for being scatterbrained when his pattern recognition could have saved the day).

            Anyway, it is these little scenes and memes about CT inserted into our media that have a real effect on how we analyze things in real life. As you demonstrate. I wouldn’t be surprised if that little scene were created to discredit 9/11 ‘truthers.’

          2. Walter Wit Man

            It’s quite possible that both Geithner and Obama are intelligence brats–that both grew up in spook households. It is quite common for children of those in intelligence to also enter the work.

            It is indeed significant that people closely associated with intelligence are running for office. This seems inconsistent with the ideals of an open democracy. George H.W. Bush is the first politician I know of to run for office while he was in the CIA, or just coming from that work. He didn’t admit it at the time and in fact lied about it. Nixon also may have been controlled by intelligence and came from intelligence.

            If our politicians are closely associated with spying agencies and intelligence we have a right to know. I for one don’t think they should be allowed to be both politicians and spies. We should at least be told of their affiliation and have the option to not vote for them based on this. And for appointments like Geithners we should have a rule prohibiting an Agency head from ever serving in intelligence or being related to those in intelligence.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      But is this Dunham related to Obama’s family? I’m not finding a connection.

      Regardless of this Chesapeake story the similarities between Obama’s and Geithner’s past is interesting.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Because I stopped worrying about how people are going to take this subject and simply launch in. There is no easy way to approach it.

          Anytime you start discussing the Ford Foundation and the CIA and Obama and Geithner people are going to tune out no matter what and dismiss it.

          There are so many gates stopping an honest analysis of these issues I basically stopped worrying about people calling me crazy for considering these things. It’s a trap much like the trap we are discussing with Obama here.

          I don’t see why quick hit acid trips would bother anyone. It’s useful to look for connections and to explore them. yeah, this one fell flat pretty fast but look what an interesting place it took us to.

  9. Jack M. Hoff

    Matt, you wrote;
    “He is the outsider become the insider, the multi-racial meritocrat whose black and white heritage came together into the ultimate conciliator and political leader. His is the story of America, that of a brilliant Harvard Law school educated striver with roots in community organizing, who became a powerful orator, and then America’s first black President.”

    Didn’t you really mean to say that his father should have flushed that load down the drain.

  10. Ransome

    What do you expect when 99.99% of the population thinks money can breed money.

    In fact, every hour 5000 minimum wage workers each send a dollar of spending power to Romney’s unearned income fund.

    My concern was that there was no perceived difference between a banker and a basketball player since they both make a lot of money.

  11. pathman

    But, but…….Rmoney will win!! Can’t you see how disastrous that will be for the country? Yeah, neither can I. Maybe there would be some actual liberal opposition to the policies both parties are pushing. Nah, we’re fucked.

    1. Gus

      Now you’re talking. It’s obvious to anyone with eyes to see. Not sure what direction it will take, but the species homo sapiens won’t last more than a couple more centuries at best.

      1. different clue

        If a few Aymara alpaca herders survive on the shores of Lake Titicaca, or if a few yak herders survive on the windswept Tibetan plateau; that’s species Homo Sapiens right there. If they survive, that will be mankind’s survival . . . and mankind will survive.

  12. James

    The irony of “We won’t get fooled again” raised exponentially. What would you expect of any pol worth his salt raised in the post-Watergate era? OF COURSE we’ll get fooled again…and again, and again… The pols know it, we know it (and embrace it), and it’s all just a wink and and a nod from there. And the erotic dance of mutual deception continues…

  13. Capo Regime

    People want to believe! All in all people for the most part want to avoid the labor of thought and the pain of doubt (Mencken). Its part of the american trait of postive thinking and taken to absurd heights by our ethos of salesmanship and techno utopianism. People buy all sorts of gew gaws, elect all kinds of charlatans because not only are they hustled–they (we) are willing marks. You cant have a con without marks. What makes a mark? Usually, greed, laziness or ambition will make you a willing mark.

    1. Ransome

      People want to avoid the labor of labor. There were many stories written at the turn of the century for young boys warning them of future temptations and pitfalls. They were given roadmaps to follow the American Dream of hard work, frugality and savings until such time they could acquire a fixed asset to manage and produce a surplus. The American Dream was firmly rooted in Protestant ethic capitalism. Millions and millions of immigrants followed the Dream to middle class prosperity. They still do.

      1. JTFaraday

        Those people had the right idea.

        That’s why the New Left turned its Vietnam deferrals into stock portfolios and “abandoned” the working class.

        1. ohmyheck

          Joke: “Where have all the Hippies gone?” “They’re the stockbrokers who don’t wear underwear.”

  14. Capo Regime

    How soon we forget (and its never been otherwise) the wisdom of RMN

    “you can fool some of the people all of the time and some people some of the time but you can;t fool all of the people all of the time. I would argue that Nixon overestimated the perspicacity of the public–hey he they did not have internet and 300 channels and 5 firms controlling all media in his day. Today, I think he would have a different perspective. Dont; blame obama–blame us.

      1. Capo Regime

        Thank you I stand corrected–though Nixon did repeat, it certainly is a Lincoln quote.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Unfortunately, politicians have realized that you can fool enough of the people enough of the time to make this horror show a perpetual repeat.

      Anyway, no amount of lesser of evils, “purist” name calling, or “being a battered spouse can be fun” logic will make me vote for that vile corporate shill again.

  15. CB

    My reading, if memory serves, was that Obama spent a year posing as a community organizer. The suspicion of unenamored observers was that the pose was another bullet point on the resume. Adolph Reed detests Obama: I think Reed has the portrait pretty accurate.

  16. docG

    Grow up, folks, and stop whining. You’re giving up on Obama, but I’m about to give up on liberals. Obama is bravely attempting to deal with a world gone mad, and as far as I can tell is doing his best. Which is far from perfect, but is at least something. You all, on the other hand, are doing as far as I can tell NOTHING. Nothing but whining and complaining in classic liberal fashion. Well, I have news for you: Obama is NOT warmed over George W. Bush. And if you can’t tell the difference, just wait till Geo. Romney takes the helm. Is that really what you want?

    1. Capo Regime

      When and how has the president dealt with something bravely? Even if you say he is doing his best is that enough given its by all evidence not good enought? Do we give him a e for effort (though not clear what that effort is) Do you believe the partisan difference this late in the day with ample evidence to demonstrate the contrary? Do you work at the DNC or White House for that would explain such comments.

      1. docG

        “Do you work at the DNC or White House for that would explain such comments.”

        Are you a Tea Partier or Romney supporter? For that would explain YOUR comments.

        1. Capo Regime

          No. Have no party affiliation. Used to be a democrat and even appointed to senior position by a democratic senator. And I worked for a democratic governor–Ann Richards. No, I am a realist now retired from government and politics and sorely disapointed by my party and people who I used to count as friends.

          1. CB

            BTW, my remark above about Cass Sunstein was directed at docG. Should have made that clear.

          2. CB

            One of the truly great raconteurs. Saw Ann step in to entertain a crowd at a rally that Bill Clinton, like all candidates, was late arriving. Fabulous performance. Delivery, timing, everything perfect. Told a story about going turkey hunting. How they went disguised as various woodland foliage. Called the turkeys, lured them close. At which point, of course, everyone was laughing because she was telegraphing the ending and the point. Fooled those birds into thinking they were something they were not and then, blam, blew them away.

          3. stripes

            Successful politicians are really just successful actors. Actors pretend to be someone they are not just like politicians. Both are well paid liars.

    2. ohmyheck

      Links, please. I read a bunch of rhetorical, subjective opinion there, doc, with nothing to back it up. Opine away, but unfortunately for you, the FACTS get in the way. Pesky things, FACTS.

      Give up on “Liberals”? Yes, please do. Feel free to give up on us any time. We have given up on the Democratic Party (note the blue OWS Support Banner in the top right-hand corner of this blog)

      Aso, please take note that this is not a “Liberal” blog. There are plenty of frustrated, disgusted Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and Constitution Party members as well. We are equal-opportunity Critics.

      Oh, and in case you missed it, here is a re-post of a Mark Twain quote, just for you-

      “When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly up-end a man’s moral constitution and make a temporary fool of him besides, what excuse are you going to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, perpetuating it?
      Shall you say, the best good of the country demands allegiance to party? Shall you also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing lunatic, besides?”
      –Samuel Clemens – “Consistency”, paper read at the Hartford Monday Evening Club (excerpt); December 5th, 1887. The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, First De Capo Press Edition, p. 582; 2000.”

      Please share that quote with all of your OBot Cheerleaders.

      1. Capo Regime

        Wow. Top form and quite an target and captures the frustration and anger of many of us regardless of past (or present) party affiliation. The Twain qoute is pure gold and a reminder not to be blinded by party affiliation.

        1. ohmyheck

          Grazi, Capo! A compliment is always nice to read. I used to write comments like this at Daily Kos. Can you believe it, I was Banned?! I know, I know…ROLF.

      2. docG

        “Links, please. I read a bunch of rhetorical, subjective opinion there, doc, with nothing to back it up.”

        I’m no longer permitted to post links to my blog here. If you click on my name, above, you’ll find more than enough to chew on, however, including many posts questioning and even attacking Obama. You’ll also note, by the way, that I question some of Obama’s naively liberal positions as much as his unfortunate tendencies to “compromise” with Republicans. Both liberals and conservatives annoy me no end, I must say, and for the same reason: lack of critical thinking and unwillingness to fully address both sides of an issue.

        “Give up on “Liberals”? Yes, please do. Feel free to give up on us any time. We have given up on the Democratic Party (note the blue OWS Support Banner in the top right-hand corner of this blog)”

        I too support OWS. And I too am disgusted with the Democratic Party. But there is a difference between taking a political position and the responsibility we all have to participate in the political process as it presents itself to us on a day to day basis. Ideally, I’d like to see another Roosevelt in office. Practically I realize that times have changed, the Plutocrats and Oligarchs are now more powerful than any government, so the tactics of a Roosevelt would no long work in our world today. Which is why my position is very simply to let the “economy” collapse for good and all, the ONLY way the evil spell can be broken.

        “Aso, please take note that this is not a “Liberal” blog. There are plenty of frustrated, disgusted Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and Constitution Party members as well. We are equal-opportunity Critics.”

        Everything I read coming from Yves herself strikes me not only as liberal, but also as the sort of liberal thinking of which I approve, i.e., critical and balanced thinking. I don’t fully agree with her on all points (e.g., her take on Obama) but I admire and trust her, which is why I read here regularly.

        On the other hand, I don’t know what to make of some of the guest posts, or many of the comments, and I must say it’s often difficult to sift well meaning (but naive) liberals from devious (and destructive) conservatives, all too happy to pile on whenever Obama is being trashed.

        1. CB

          I don’t believe Obama “gave in.” Right off the bat, if you want into elected office in Chicago, Democrat is the likeliest to get you there. I say the same about Emanuel. A party choice of convenience. So, I think Obama, with the help of Republicans, perhaps unwitting, landed exactly where he wanted to be. Yves has commented that Obama only cares that he has a piece of paper to wave around as an “accomplishment,” and cares nothing for the content. Definitely another, or additional, possibility. The theses are not mutually exclusive. In any case, whatever serves him best. What else matters? (Rhetorical, rhetorical.)

        2. Walter Wit Man


          “On the other hand, I don’t know what to make of some of the guest posts, or many of the comments, and I must say it’s often difficult to sift well meaning (but naive) liberals from devious (and destructive) conservatives, all too happy to pile on whenever Obama is being trashed.”

          So you’re used to the good guys and bad guys being clearly delineated? And for commentators at a blog to toe an ideological line?

          Methinks you’ve had your understanding at online politics formed by the likes of Daily Kos and other progressive bloggers. Boy, is there anything these finks like Kos and Digby haven’t ruined? They ruined what could have been an effective weapon for the left–online organization and politicking. These “progressives” put everything into a conservative vs. liberal frame and frankly that is a huge impediment to understanding. Your revelation that you only see conservatives when you hear criticism of Obama gives away your conditioning.

          Bashing Obama does not make one a “conservative” and it doesn’t mean one is helping conservatives.

          I loathe Obama and Democrats as much as I loathe Romney and the Republicans. Actually, I loathe you Democrats a bit more because you pretend to have good hearts but in reality you are as bloodthirsty and fascist as your conservative comrades.

          1. docG

            “So you’re used to the good guys and bad guys being clearly delineated? And for commentators at a blog to toe an ideological line?”

            What I’m saying, really, is that today’s Republicans scare the Hell out of me, and anything that might contribute to a Republican victory this Fall is a mistake to be avoided at all costs. Whether Obama is deep down in his heart no different from Glen Beck I really can’t say. I’m not a mind reader and neither are you. But I would sure as Hell prefer to see him in office than Glen. Or Romney, who in his present incarnation is just as devious and even more dangerous (because he’s a smoother operator).

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Thanks for your honesty DocG.

            Actually, I too once had the same emotions. I first experienced this around 2000 when I really believed the Republicans were evil and had to be stopped at all costs. Even though I was dissatisfied with the Democrats and agreed with the Green platform more, I simply knew the Democrats would be better than the Republicans and this was the most pragmatic political position for a lefty like me.

            But of course I now curse myself for how stupid and naive that was.

            I’m not engaging in hyperbole when I saw Obama is slightly MORE evil than Romney and the Republicans. I firmly believe this. You see, Obama and the Democrats pretend to be liberal. That’s why you like them. That’s why I liked them. And it works because its simply human nature to trust people like this.

            But you simply have to figure out that these people are lying to you. It’s a trick. They are not trying to slowly achieve liberal goals–they are trying to trick you so they can thwart your liberal goals and enact a fascist agenda.

            I know that seems extreme. That’s why it’s hard for you to accept. But people do bad things in this world and Obama’s deceptions will kill millions.

            Figuring out the deception and standing up to these fascist thugs is the littlest we can do, but it is much more satisfying than being the Democrats’ doormat

          3. LeonovaBalletRusse

            DocG, take the advice of Robert Unger, a truly progressive expert in Deep Politics, and a man who should allay your fears:

            “‘President Obama must be defeated in the coming election,’ Roberto Unger, a longtime professor at Harvard Law School who taught Obama, said in a video posted on May 22. ‘He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States.'” (Video posted at HuffPo on 6/16/12.) Prof. Unger is NO fool.

            The above quotation in print at, together with this video of Professor Unger speaking with consummate authority, which must have gone viral by now. See set of videos featuring Professor Unger’s sage advice us all on You Tube (e.g. “Beyond the Small Life: a letter to young people” and “Nihilism (7/8): The Religion of the Future”).


            Roberto Unger addresses the “Supreme Court” issue. BE NOT AFRAID!

          4. ess emm

            I like how Unger ties the economic/political together with the spiritual. His video What Progressives Should Propose is a real programmatic approach that is worth a try.

            On the negative side he’s attacked because he wanted to allow development of the Amazon rainforest.

    3. Harold

      Just fuck off with the ‘grow up and stop whining’ shit. Take the sanctimony and shove it up your ass.

      1. docG

        I’m not going to dignify this post with a response.

        Oops, guess I just did. Well, Harold, consider yourself dignified.

    4. Walter Wit Man

      I don’t WANT Romney to take over. He’s a right-wing fascist warmonger after all.

      But he’s slightly better than Obama.

      It’s not worth voting for him though. We are better off destroying both legacy parties and depriving both of a vote. I would not ally myself with the Democrats unless they started acting more trustworthy. Why give my vote away in compromise for free?

      I’m voting socialist.

    5. James

      Honestly, I think things will be a good deal better with Romney in the WH. If nothing else, congressional Repubes won’t be quite so brazen knowing they’ll have their way anyway without all the histrionics – AND more importantly – that there’ll be some semblance of accountability without a Dem lapdog in the WH to blame everything on. WTF, at this point we’re going down the tubes either way. Might as well get on with the process to see where all this nonsense is gonna take us.

    6. Lambert Strether

      Ah, infantilization. A classic 2008-style Obot trope. It does my heart good to see an old friend deployed once again. How’s that hopey change thing workin out for ya?

      * * *

      Of course Obama isn’t warmed over Bush. In several ways, he’s worse. Bush may have whacked the odd human without due process, but he didn’t normalize it for US citizens, like Obama has. Of course, for Obama supporters, whatever Bush did is fine, as long as Obama does it. He’s thoughtful and nuanced!

          1. docG

            Interesting. To conservatives, Obama is a rabid firebreathing socialist or maybe even a card carrying Commie, but for liberals like you he’s a fascist, one step removed, I suppose, from Hitler himself. Sorry, Yves, but I’m not buying into that sort of hysterical rhetoric and I’m surprised someone like you would. Also disappointed. You should know better than to fall for that sort of nonsense.

            What I’m reading here, for the most part, are projections, as in psychological projections. Daddy promised me a new Playstation 3. All the other kids have one. But instead alls I got was a catcher’s mit. Wahhhh, what a bastard!!! Maybe I’ll just run away from home, that’ll teach him a lesson. (Grow up, kid!)

            So many here are claiming clairvoyant powers, the ability to see through to the “real” Obama, who is, “obviously” lying through his teeth (just like Daddy), a fascist disguised as a progressive. Sorry, but I see no evidence of that.

            What I do see, is someone, a bit too young, a bit too inexperienced, a bit too cocky, captured by forces he is unable to control. In other words, I see someone who is struggling. I’ve turned on him and ridiculed him many times, and for good reason, but I would never accuse him of being a fascist. Sorry that does NOT computer, it’s pure rhetoric. And imo it is irresponsible.

          2. patricia

            This is your grandma speaking, G. You say: “What I do see, is someone, a bit too young, a bit too inexperienced, a bit too cocky, captured by forces he is unable to control.” But we don’t really know, do we? You are centering on his character and personality in the same way that you accuse the others of doing. You call “projection” on others’ conclusions, but you are doing it yourself. And I simply can’t allow my grandchild to engage in such primitive defenses without hearing from his grandma.

            Moreover, grandson, I’m afraid they didn’t teach you very well at that school you attended. (What did you do all those years? And so much money!!) Integrity requires that we live not by “sides” but by ascertaining accuracy, as much as we can, and following our noses to where it leads us. By insisting on looking at life through the foggy narrow lens of “sides”, you miss a great deal. It’s no wonder you aren’t finding evidence.

            But let’s say that your assessment is largely accurate. If this essentially honest (but commonly flawed) man is struggling deeply and yet his actions come up as they do, we obviously have a system that has become so corrupt that no good-will and hard work can make a difference. If you truly believed that, you’d be hard at work to restructure our government and economy, calling loudly for revolution. Yet you aren’t, dear, so, well…I just don’t know what to say. (Where did you go to school again?)

          3. citalopram

            Docg – what exactly has Obummer done that’s “progressive” and “liberal”?

          1. docG

            Actually, “Grandma,” if you check out my blog (click on my moniker and you’ll find it), you’ll see that I am indeed very much aware of the breakdown of our political system and I have some ideas regarding how to deal with it. I certainly don’t see Obama as our savior, that’s for sure.

            As far as revolution is concerned, I was and still am all for OWS, but lately that seems to be fizzling, and it doesn’t surprise me. I read lots of complaints on this blog and elsewhere, but very little when it comes to taking action, and that too doesn’t surprise me. The question always seems to be: exactly how far do you intend to take any actions you may be contemplating?

            I see no point in old-style armed rebellion. The powers that be are way too powerful. Expressing one’s “rebellion” at the ballot box by simply not voting is pretty weak tea, don’t you think? And I don’t see any signs of a third party forming, not anything viable in any case.

            I do see some hope, however, and some possibilities in harnessing the power of ordinary workers, and this is currently the topic I’m now discussing on the blog. So, if you’ve got “revolution” on your mind, I suggest you tune in. It’s not hard to find. Just do a search on Mole in the Ground blog.

    7. Me

      “Grow up, folks, and stop whining.”

      The term whining is used by people like yourself when someone disagrees with a policy and doesn’t accept the baseless propaganda of the party they mindlessly defend. The logic used, the facts, don’t matter a bit. For example, if Obama signs a free trade deal with a country, Colombia, in which more union organizers are killed than the rest of the world combined, and if that (and his NAFTA on steroids deal soon to come) will cost the country (and possibly myself) a job, I am “whining”. I should realize that he put in place voluntary this or that in the free trade deal in regards to the environment and labor, I should acknowledge that less union organizers have been killed this year in Colombia (which I am told is progress) and that I should appreciate Obama vs. Romney for this reason. Never mind the record of these trade deals, the de-indusrialization they have caused, the impact they have had on wealth and income inequality.

      “You all, on the other hand, are doing as far as I can tell NOTHING. Nothing but whining and complaining in classic liberal fashion.”

      I am not sure what a “liberal” is to a brain dead person like yourself. From what I can tell though in modern America, it is everyone from John Kerry to Noam Chomsky. It is interesting though for someone to have such strong opinions about people they know nothing of. “as far as you can tell” we are posting on a blog. Other than that, you know nothing of any of us. As far as I can tell, you don’t think about much of anything in a logical, objective way and have no intellectual depth. As far as I can tell, I have far more to back my opinion up than you do.

      “And if you can’t tell the difference, just wait till Geo. Romney takes the helm. Is that really what you want?”

      The Democrats and Republican both strongly back “free trade” deals. They back the WTO. Obama himself wants to lower the top marginal tax rate on individuals (while getting a little as far as the removal of loopholes) and corporations. He has done NOTHING, NOTHING about private debt and finance (which go hand in hand, since debt is finance’s product). He has done nothing to reverse the financial takeover of the economy. The Nobel prize winner has a typically violent foreign policy, has been horrible as far as government transparancy and whistle blowers, is privatizing the educational system one charter school at a time, has done nothing what so ever for unions (remember car check? What about the attacks on unions, what the hell has he done there?). His “progressive” health care bill was based on Romney’s & Nixon’s health care plans and the health care policies of the libertarian think tanks from the early 90’s. He said as much himself. He also lied when he said that the public option was on the table. He gave it away right off behind the scenes and lied to the public (the public option had support from a large percentage of the public). We are now at at place where THOSE right wing health care bills are now called “progressive”. So the Cato Insitute from 1994 is now “progressive” according to “progressives”. On and on.

      There is one real difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Both the parties could give a damn about workers, their country or the environment (one the whole, there are a few exceptions in the Democratic Party). The Republicans’ policies will cause outright collapse while the Democrats will lead to a more gradual decline. Neither party is willing or able to reverse the course this country has been on since, at least, Reagan.

      “And if you can’t tell the difference, just wait till Geo. Romney takes the helm. Is that really what you want?”

      Look at the polls in the swing states on Obama’s position with the big banks and the bankers. The people in those states, by wide margins, believe he has been too partial towards these groups. That is the type of thing you can blame if he were to lose the election. The fact that he is a neoliberal, right wing Democrat who has not done a damn thing to change the system, certainly nothing what so ever in regards to economic policy. Don’t blame the almost non-existent left should he lose in November. He chose to have a right wing economic team give him advice, they gave him horrible advice as usual, he ignored the actual left on economic matters and the economy is in a horrible state as a result. If he actually listened to someone not connected to Geithner or Rubin maybe the economy would be in a better place, real reforms would have been put in place, bankers would be in jail and there would have been a debt write down. Instead, we have the same exact economic system, as fundamentally flawed now as it was when he took office. The only real difference is the trillions that the banks have pushed off onto the tax payers.

      You can claim that he has made some progress, that progress takes time and he is only one person. That is a baseless Obama talking point. He has signed three more free trade deals, which he admitted were fundamentally flawed, and is working on another. He has allowed the banks to transfer trillions of their junk onto the tax payer. He hasn’t gone after ANYONE on Wall Street. He is open to cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He has sent people like Geithner to Europe to fight against the financial transactions tax. He has been utterly deceptive towards the public in regards to financial reform (if you want any proof, look at what Sheila Bair has said about Obama on her way out from the FDIC). Again, on and on. He has moved us backwards more than forward.

      To hell with you and your pathetic party.

      1. docG

        “It is interesting though for someone to have such strong opinions about people they know nothing of. “as far as you can tell” we are posting on a blog. Other than that, you know nothing of any of us.”

        I go by what I’m reading on this blog. I see complaint after complaint, no end of moaning and groaning, but nothing in the way of new ideas, new strategies, no calls for action of any except the most negative sort, i.e., “I won’t vote for Obama ever again.” Gee, how original. If you read my blog, you’ll see plenty of new ideas, strategies and, yes, calls for action.

        I agree, Obama has been a huge disappointment. But you write as though he’s some sort of king or dictator, who can wave a magic wand and get all sorts of progressive, enlightened legislation passed by fiat. It’s not that simple, as everyone reading here should know by now. As I’ve written before, we are now living in a world ruled by and for the super-wealthy, who are now more powerful than any president, any government, even any dictator. Neither Obama nor anyone else can wave a wand and change that.

        As for me, anyone reading very far in my blog will realize, I’m no Democrat and certainly not a party shill. My politics is probably closest to that of George Orwell, a very progressive and even radical form of socialism. But I’m intelligent enough to realize that the USA is not ready for socialism at this moment in history and I certainly don’t expect Obama to fight for my beliefs. I’ll vote for him because the alternative is, very frankly, fascism, and I’m astonished to realize that no one else here, least of all Yves herself, seems to notice.

        1. JTFaraday

          “My politics is probably closest to that of George Orwell, a very progressive and even radical form of socialism. But I’m intelligent enough to realize that the USA is not ready for socialism at this moment in history”

          You’re not Christopher Hitchens back from the dead are you?

          (And look where he ended up). tsk.

        2. different clue


          If you have been reading this blog for more than a few months, then you have seen Lambert Strether’s posts on Permaculture and my (and others’s) comments about people doing real work in the field of survivalist economics . . . people like Ran Prieur, Dmitri Orlov, Catherine Austin Fitts, Woody Tasch, John Robb, “The Contrary Goddess”, Sharon Astyk, etc. etc. etc.

          And if you have been reading this blog for more than a few months, and have therefor seen all the things I have referrenced just above, and yet you claim that you see nothing here but people complaining; then you have just revealed yourself to be what is called in plain english “a god damned liar”.

          Obama is the more effective evil. Romney is less of a threat to my Social Security than Obama has already revealed himself to be with his Simpson Obama Catfood Plan and his strategic defunding of Social Security (the “payroll tax holiday”). If the election promises to be 50-50 here in Michigan, I will vote for Romney to do my part to defeat Obama.

        3. Fiver


          Who forced Obama to sign-off on all those murders? Who has refused, on any issue of any real import, to even once face, let alone face down, a powerful entity or interest?

          The idea that he is genuinely “trying” or “doing his best” is such supreme crap from anyone purporting to be informed, it makes it nigh on impossible to take what you might’ve said elsewhere seriously. To not understand his poisonous character by now is to be hopelessly naive, gravely ignorant, or simply being false. There is no other possibility.

  17. Garrett Pace

    “He’s good at, no, great at telling jokes. He kills at comedic performances, and his sense of timing is magnificent.”

    REALLY? Maybe I need to hear more of his jokes. I have found his jokes to be labored and awkward; rather self-conscious.

    Here is an instructive contrast from the past election. Here’s McCain roasting Obama and Obama roasting McCain. To me it’s pretty obvious who has the better game:

    1. CB

      Agreed. Like his “eloquence,” very overrated. I’ve commented about his pompous gasbaggery style and more than one responder has noted that s/he wasn’t at all impressed by the 2004 convention speech. I didn’t see it. Anyone here think it was boffo?

      1. Rex

        One must remember that we were used to listening to Bush. It was kind of reassuring to hear someone who didn’t stumble over words or jumble up phrases.

        It was much later that I realised Obama was an automaton. His speaking style is reminisant of a lawn sprinkler. His head rotates between left and right, never stopping in the middle, as he sprays out a smooth even layer of words. It is a bit hypnotic, listening to the chica-chica-chica-brrrrrrr, chica-chica-chica-brrrrrrr.

        Eventually a pattern emerges, though. The words are put out to temporarily satiate. They evaporate like the water leaving nothing of substance behind. One is left with an empty disenchantment. Wasn’t something supposed to happen?

        1. CB

          Funny, funny description. I especially like the lawn sprinkler analogy. Right on! Didn’t his pomposity come thru? The guy is so full of himself, for the short while I can stand listening, I expect him to float up like a properly gassed balloon.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Obama: like watching a tennis match: Left teleprompter, right teleprompter.

        2. Yves Smith

          They call that sort of empty but eloquent-sounding rhetoric “hypnotic speech” in neuroliguistic programming.

          1. Fiver

            It’s only empty if insincere. Note the same words and cadence bounced off nearly half the voting population from the get-go, and now make most people’s stomach churn, yet he will still win handily.

        3. LeonovaBalletRusse

          WalterWM, the “nobody” and YS info re NPL hypnosis technique tends to support your MKUltraCIA All in the Family theory. Looks like that 1,000 Year Reich never died, it just smells that way.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Obama’s joke about “predator drones” for would-be suitors of his daughters was arguably even worse than Bush’s jokes about looking for Iraq’a fabricated WMD in the oval office. It betrays a shockingly cavalier elitist attitude about killing and aggressive war. Why would anyone joke about something so hideous, really, even if (big if) it were absolutely necessary? It could only come from a chickenhawk killer with no actual combat experience, and it’s offensively revealing of true character.

      1. stripes

        Bush….? The creep who told the American people to go shopping after 9/11 and that women should love their gynecolegists..?

      2. F. Beard

        Agree. Many (most, nearly all?) combat troops puke the first time they kill another human being. Has Obama ever done so?

        1. CB

          He’s like the mob boss who’e always at least once removed from the hit. Clean hands, foul heart.

      3. Dp

        Second! That comment was nauseating- then tried to gauge the reaction of my peer group, (early twenties, college educated)— not even a cough. “hell yeah bro(bama)!”

      4. NotTimothyGeithner

        I suppose anyone who runs for President would have to be a sociopath, but I’m more concerned not that 0bama might tell the joke in private but that the joke went through speech writers and probably a number of political appointees with no one saying, “lets pull this in light of the Bush WMD search or that drones have killed children.”

        Not only are they cruel, they are careless too.

        1. Fiver

          Not careless. Obama and his handlers have done everything they can think of to sear the image of an immensely powerful Obama as lethal opponent into the public consciousness – a demi-God (at least) with the power of life and death over all.

  18. Elliot

    What’s actually surprising to me is that ANYONE is still fooled. He was obviously a corporate shill long before he got elected President, obviously a liar. He has continued to be those things… yawn.

    My only bright spot is that the Ron Paul and other 3rd-4th etc options began to make real headway in the US political mental space this year. Paul’s not someone I would vote for, for a host of reasons, but the fact that there is enough discontent for serious people to take him seriously gives me hope that ….eventually… we will overthrow the TwoParty Party with its two flavors of corporate doublespeak.

    1. Capo Regime

      DocG above believes and you can see the very active and enthusiastic tweets and posts by thousands. Yes, its amazing how people are fooled. But is human nature, people stay in abusive relationships, become self destructive and so forth. As we all know things are bad out there and if you are the typical person two paychecks away from ruin (or already ruined) believing that things will get better or that our leaders care about us probably keeps you from total despair and panic. At one level people should know better but we really can;t blame beliviers either for contemplating what can be a horrifying reality.

  19. SR6719

    It’s like that Philip K. Dick novel, “The Simulacra”, where a completely fraudulent government is led by Presidential-looking simulacrum, which turns out to be an android (or a synthetic organism having flesh-like resemblance).

    The android keeps smiling and keeps pushing buttons on his joystick, and this launches drone strikes that reduce thousands of defenseless women and children into “bug splats”.

    Meanwhile the American public continues to believe that “the smile” is a sign of the android’s “good intentions”, and the “bug splats” are keeping them safe.

    1. Ms G

      Good analogy. If that does not make Obama a one-man Death Panel (remote controlled, of course) I don’t know what would.

  20. Greg T

    Excellent post, Matt. Among your very best. Barack Obama is like the soft talking doctor who consoles you while he gradually administers ever higher doses of lethal anasthetic. His patient may realize something is not quite right, but will do nothing about it, as he/she trusts the well spoken, well-educated man in professional attire.

    If I’m one of the elites, I would support Obama’s re-election. The institutional left has become so anesthitized by the president, they’ll do virtually whatever he wants, even if it means its own extinction.

  21. steve from virginia

    Good portrait of Obama, a screed from a jilted lover. Stoller left out the ‘insecure’ part, the heart of Obama darkness. BTW: anyone with a computer and a few minutes- time could have discovered for themselves ‘Senator Present’ or ‘Mr Exxon-Mobil’s track record.

    Now what? Romney is arguably worse, the entire system is corrupted from top to bottom: too much easy, unearned money for too long.

    Maybe the first step it to think of the country in some way that does not include a new car or a split-level as some kind of ‘progress’. The electorate never stops angling for ‘what’s in it for me’: the great problem of the past 200 years, irrelevant now. There is nothing for you, it is every (wo)man for him- or herself.

    American consumption-based economic endeavors have been too successful for too long, there aren’t enough resources to go around and the effort to gain what remains threatens our human science experiment with extinction. We’ve outsmarted ourselves with our business/economic obsessions. now it is past time for a ‘Plan B’.

    In light of what faces us: trying to unwind population overshoot of billions with diminishing resources and a tendency toward war — our politicians are beyond inadequate. Obama doesn’t exist, neither do the other US policy- or business leaders. The scientists point out warning signs that are ignored. Leaders are too busy trying to divide a ‘growth’ pie that does not exist any more …

    … shuffling those deck chairs as the bow of the Titanic slips beneath the waves.

    1. Yves Smith

      Please get your facts right. “Jilted lover”? Stoller was never an Obama fan. He was nearly thrown out of the 2004 Dem convention for expressing doubts about Obama back then. He’s annoyed that soi disant progressives still refuse to see through the con.

      1. CB

        Read down further. If this quotation is correct, Matt Stoller fell in:

        myiq2xu says:
        June 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm

        Matt Stoller on 5/7/08:

        All I’ll add is that it’s time to think through the consequences of a party where there is a new chief with massive amounts of power. I’ve been in the wilderness all my political life, as have most of us. The Clintonistas haven’t, and they know what it’s like to be part of the inside crew. We have a leader, and he’s not a partisan and he can now end fractious intraparty fights with a word and/or a nod. His opinion really matters in a way that even Nancy Pelosi’s just did not. He has control of the party apparatus, the grassroots, the money, and the messaging environment. He is also, and this is fundamental, someone that millions of people believe in as a moral force. When you disagree with Obama, you are saying to these people ‘your favorite band sucks’.

        Like many of us, I endorsed Obama, gave him money, and I intend to work to get him elected. He is attempting to completely rewrite the rules of politics, and we should try to figure out what that means for where we take our meager work. Obama is now the party leader. And he has ensured and we have given him the mandate that when he speaks, he speaks for all of us. I hope he’s a vibrant progressive when he gets into office, and we should begin figuring out how to put ourselves in a position to help him take the country in a progressive direction.

        1. Matt Stoller Post author

          Yes, I voted for Obama in 2008 because I was a Democrat, but I never liked him. I had called him a liar and an authoritarian prior to 2008, and I had been publicly critical since 2005. If you read that whole piece, you’ll note that it was an analysis of Obama’s destruction of his internal opponents within the Democratic party. It was an analysis of power dynamics.

          1. Aquifer

            So, Matt, will you vote for him again, because you are a Democrat? Will party loyalty be the most important consideration? Will it override principle and considerations of what is “right and just, necessary and proper for our salvation” in favor of what is politically expedient? Expedient for whom? The 1% that runs the show?

            Seems it should be rather clear by now that that is precisely why we keep getting schmucks in office – too many folks vote for them just because they are wearing the right team colors …

            It is not enough to criticize – what’s your alternative? Another Dem? Name one who can’t/won’t be squashed by the party PTB ….

            Take off the Dem glasses, Matt, come out of Plato’s cave. Time to chuck party – only way to recover principle …

        2. Yves Smith

          I suggest you consult Mat’s history on Obama, he’s written critical stuff about him since 2004. Remember, he was working for Dem candidates at that point, which limited his degrees of freedom. This is tepid compared to what Obama backers were writing.

        3. CB

          The quotation stands, as is.

          I’m sure anyone who writes a lot has a few lines here and there s/he would like to re-phrase.

  22. Warren Celli

    Matt Stoller said; “We can learn our own power, if in no other manner than in saying at the voting booth and in public, “I do not accept your lies, and though you might take it by force, I will not grant you my consent willingly.” “

    When you vote you willingly accept, validate, and legitimize, the lies.

    When you vote you willingly grant your consent.

    When you vote you willingly make yourself complicit in the murders.

    When you vote you willingly are aiding and abetting the gross exploitation and murder.

    Matt Stoller said; “We can work to organize ourselves, and our lives, with those of us who understand that power is something that must be taken, with money, organization, but most of all, with moral courage.”

    When you vote — and when from a position of influence you exhort others to vote in such a transparently rigged and useless as teats on a bull energy dissipating systemic farce — you show no moral courage, you become a moral coward, a rubber stamp for oppression.

    Matt Stoller said; “Few really gets who he is, at his core, and almost no one is willing to publicly point it out.”

    Its more a matter of who they ALL are…

    If you want real change Matt, you need to notch up the intensity and take the fight outside of the totally co-opted system.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

    1. Capo Regime

      Good points. Again Mark Twain: ‘if voting mattered they would not let us do it”

      Picking the candidates–now thats power.

      1. YesMaybe

        Seems that’s a bastardization of Emma Goldman’s saying “If voting changed anything, they would make it illegal.” At least, as far as I can tell from some searching on google and google books.

        1. Capo Regime

          How long have you worked for the quote police? Benefits any good? On this one Twain predates Emma G. You can certainly use the google thingy to confirm i.e. enter twain and if voting made a difference……..

          1. YesMaybe

            I didn’t manage to find any page attributing that to Twain except unsourced quotations pages. wikiquote lists it as unsourced/possible fake and says

            ‘No known attribution to Twain. This has also been attributed to Emma Goldman. “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”’

            If you know of any trustworthy source attributing it to Twain I’d be very interested.

        2. Capo Regime

          Good lord. O.K. Goldman said it or Tom Jones–the point is the same. You will get that promotion. From now on we will all add cites or caveats to quotes or common phrases.

          1. Lambert Strether

            If you want to maintain links to our past culture, than citations are important (a) for accuracy and completeness and (b) for self-education. For example, a reader might wish go learn more about either Twain or Goldman could use the cites; that is their purpose.

            Of course, if you wish to live in the eternal present of a sloppy mental bouillabaisse of vaguely remembered catchphrases, do feel free!

          2. Capo Regime

            Quibbler: a disputant who quibbles; someone who raises annoying petty objections. Is this accurate enough professors? Its the point dammit its a comments section in a blog. Yikes. A half remembered phrase I recall from Texas is “needledicking”. Attribution was not scholarly but hell the points made remain common. Consistent with process and style over relevance…..Oh well.

          3. JTFaraday

            Indeed. A number of years ago a friend of mine tells me my brother likes to say “Anger is a gift,” and I think about it and I’m like wow, he actually thinks about stuff!

            Then comes the day I find out it’s really Sid Vicious, and… the whole picture comes back together for me. ;-)

    2. enouf

      wonderful; 13 replies of nonsense … utterly hell-bent on distracting from your key criticisms…

      Fundamentalism () must thrive in order to effect real change.



  23. ltr

    Brilliant post, just brilliant. I get who Obama is, I get the hatred of liberals and the cynicism and fierce soul-less conservativsm of Obama.

  24. Lambert Strether

    This is an extremely acute question:

    Why hasn’t been there a great iconic impersonator of Barack Obama, like Tina Fey and Sarah Palin or Will Ferrell (or James Adomian) and George W. Bush?

    Something in the zeitgeist “changed” indeed. Obama is, indeed, “no laughing matter.” Why?

    1. F. Beard

      Why? Lambert Strether

      I wasn’t laughing when Obama was portrayed as the Messiah on some magazine covers; I was horrified.

      1. CB

        He is still spoken of as the black messiah in some churches. One of the FDL posters who lives in a majority black area has seen a sign in front of a church “Rich Whites Don’t Want To Give the Money for a Black Messiah’s Dream.”

        But LeonovaBalletRusse is right, Obama is not black. Everything important about him is white, and elitist. He hasn’t done nor does he care jackshit for/about minorities and it’s disheartening to see him mumble a few platitudes, throwaway lines, and revive support from minorities without actually DOING anything.

          1. CB

            I am so put off by the idea of Messiahs of any stripe, I find the reference utterly repellent. Outrageous in the largest way. As a practical matter, it’s an invitation to(and excuse for) abuse.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          He is a well-paid Minstrel in Blackface: True Spit in the Face of truly noble descendants of African slaves in America. He is a Dirty Trick of the .01% “Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholder’s World View” (Fox-Genovese and Genovese). Obama’s “African-American Identity Politics” makes him the worst betrayer of the American People in history.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            And don’t forget: Obama is NOT a free-thinking, voting descendant of African slaves or free people of color in America. He is a usurper of this hard-won status of a triumphant people, a very thief of “African-American Identity” in American Politics.

          1. enouf

            @ F. Beard

            Nevermind – i completely misunderstood what was initially being asked in this subthread. (and so too, your follow-up responses).


            p.s. (Yes, I am aware of the Gospel of Matthew ;-) – thanks for replying)

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Something tells me that Obama is not a “good sport.” Would he not drone the “Mocker of Me, Orator the Great?”

    3. John Merryman

      The question isn’t about Obama, but about the likes of Tina Fey and Will Ferrell and their audience. We all want to think we are good and ignore the destruction required to maintain the life we know. The wealthy liberal elite are just more fastidious about the price paid for the lifestyle. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be where they are, because their audience doesn’t want real morality nearly as much as it wants coolness. On that, Obama delivers.
      The beast will be fed until it dies. That’s won’t be much longer, because it is septic. The gut bacteria have taken over the rest of the organism and are eating it from the inside.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think part of the problem with the lack of an 0bama parody is the Bush 2, Palin, and Clinton SNL impressions are largely based on over the top representations (not in Palin’s case)of obvious traits. 0bama is kind of a cool guy in the eyes of the American public, but he isn’t overly cool. The 0bots ruined any potential parody from that aspect with their creepy devotion.

      Part of the problem is 0bama is a parody now. Supposedly, liberal-types applaud like the Beetles came to town (which would be crazy because two are dead) when 0bama denounces Republicans then proposes some rehashed Republican policy as the solution. If you ask those same people, they have no idea what 0bama said, or they just make up what he said.

      When 0bama gave the speech to AIPAC, he announced the Bush Doctrine was A-OK, and I read and heard how 0bama took such a diplomatic tone from the last Administration. They said the same damn thing, but it didn’t matter. I would bet 0bama could say the sky was green, and the 0bots would say, “oh, he said it was blue,” “he is just playing 11th dimensional chess,” “it is green,” or “the Republicans would be a kajillionty times worse.” Since the 0bots are part of the joke, they wouldn’t get it and conservatives don’t get humor beyond their religion is different from my relgion, there isn’t a spot for a smart 0bama parody. If there were to be one, it would have to be so over the top that it made Chevy Chase’s Ford look like a tribue to our 37th President or just go the Carvey Bush 41 direction and make up a funny character and call him 0bama. This guy does give a nice effort.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        To keep it simple, the issue with the Fey and Ferrell impressions is they are mocking obvious attributes. The funniest thing about 0bama isn’t him but his followers. Bush followers were mocked. They watch Larry the Cable Guy, seem amazed by the punchline of a Jeff Foxworthy joke, and so forth, but for Jon Stewart or even SNL which is still on to make fun of 0bama followers, they would be attacking their audience which had no problem calling a hillbilly from Alaska who was promoted because she could be controlled all kinds of names.

      2. JTFaraday

        If parodying Obama is too politically incorrect (and it may be), then the comedians should parody the O-bots.

        Because some day we’ll be effectively rid of “President” Obama but they, the O-bots, aren’t going anywhere and they’re still going to be a problem.

        Thus, to me at least, they are the real problem.

        1. CB

          Some will, some won’t. I used to be a very partisan Democrat and I was in denial about Clinton’s perfidy. Staunch defender. No more. Today, I can slice and dice with anybody, but I really regard politicians as a particular kind of dysfunction and for me now, they are only as good as they are useful. Enormously flawed, always potentially dangerous, must have constant adult supervision.

    5. LeeAnne

      Lambert, PC has long tentacles. When’s the last time you heard a comedian mimic a black man?

      You can’t make fun of anyone with a patoire such as his let alone the POTUS himself. The one thing I noticed about Obama when I wasn’t paying that much attention to ‘what’ he was saying during the nominations, was his speech pattern and inflections; an unmistakable resemblance to Louis Farakhan, a man notorious in New York City for fiery preacher-style rhetoric who is not so well known in the rest of the country that pegged Obama as a potential demogogue from the beginning.

      Making fun of Obama without our appallingly repressive political correctness would be a piece of cake.

      Just look at the stuff on this blog that arouses accusations of ‘racist.’

      Just one example: on a video featured on this blog, Paul Stamets, a mycologyist specializing in the properties of fungi, referred to the habit of people who didn’t take our mushroom ancestry seriously as ‘racism.’ Along with his unfortunate ‘racism’ observation, he believes his work is vital for ‘saving the world,’ and that humans are ‘bad’ for the earth; a theme we’re hearing from the corrupted university system of idiot savant PhDs who are handsomely rewarded for standing up for such sentiments.

      That’s the lunacy we’re living with in this so-called representative democracy we’re fighting for all over the Western world while the Obitch imposes martial law a little itty bit at a time all over the country against the American people.

      Make a joke out of that.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Did Stamets say that? That was dumb (though Stamets is, in his science, wicked smaht. Perhaps he should have said speciesist.)

        * * *

        That said, I think — throwing this idea out here, hoping some bright young person takes it up! :-) — that a successful Obama parodist would have to be white. (Which makes sense, anyhow). Get the tilted chin, the big ears, and the “thoughtful,” “nuanced” inflections right…

        Exercise: Translate the following into Obama-ese:

        I as leader will use power like a drum and leadership like a violin. Pick out any idea, compare ideas, with the one idea left you have no doubt and without a doubt we have enthusiasm! [applause, shouting] Gentlemen, gentlemen, please, gentlemen, to make life whole! It’s as easy as a bridge! [muttering] Gentlemen, now that we have attained control we must pull together as one, like a twin! And the prophecy of power as enthusiasm! All for one! [crowd: all for one!] And all for one! [crowd: and all for one!] Let me hear it for me! [crowd: You’re under arrest!]

        1. LeeAnne

          Lambert, accusations of ‘racist’ against the non credentialed isn’t an error; its a feature.

        2. Warren Celli

          Now here’s a comedian that understood voting and cultural conditioning — and here is the attribution;

          “That is one thing you might’ve noticed I don’t complain about: Politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. But where do the people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from american parents and american families, american homes, american schools, american churches, american businesses and american universities. and they’re elected by american citizens. This is the best we can do, folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out! If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, if you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you are gonna get selfish, ignorant leaders. The term limits ain’t goinna do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So maybe, maybe, maybe it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here. Like… the public. Yeah. The public sucks! There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody. “The public sucks, fuck hope!”. Fuck hope. Because if it’s really just the fault of these politicians then where are all the other bright people of conscience? Where are all the bright, honest, inteligent americans ready to step in and save the Nation and lead the way? We don’t have people like that in this country; everybody’s at the mall, scratching his ass, picking his nose, taking his credit card out of his fanny pack and buying a pair of sneakers with lights in them! So I have solved this little political dilemma for myself in a very simple way: On election day… I stay home. I don’t vote. Fuck’em, fuck’em! I don’t vote. Two reasons, two reasons I don’t vote: First of all, is meaningless. This country was bought and sold and paid for a long time ago. The shit they shuffle around every 4 years, *pfff* doesn’t mean a fucking thing. And secondly I don’t vote because I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around, I know. They say: “Well, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain”; but where’s the logic in that? If you vote and you elect dishonest, incompetent people and they get into office and screw everything up… well, you are responsible for what they have done. You caused the problem; you voted them in; you have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote, who did not vote, who in fact did not even leave the house on election day, am in no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain as long as I want about the mess you created that I had nothing to do with. So I know that a little later on this year you’re going to have another of those really swell presidential elections that you like so much, you enjoy yourselves it’ll be alot of fun. I’m sure that as soon as the election is over your country will improve immediately. As for me, I’ll be home that day doing essentially the same thing as you. The only difference is, when I get finished masturbating I’m gonna have a little something to show for it folks. Thank you very much.”

          Deception is the strongest [political force on the planet.

        3. LeonovaBalletRusse

          Best: a White Puppet in Blackface on a Black Panther’s knee. Only Malcolm X would have had the nerve to try this. Maybe Farakhan will step up to the plate and hit a homer?

        4. Ms G

          How hard would it be for SNL to bring back Will Forte and get him to channel his Bush shtick into an Obama/Holder impersonation.

          Remember the SNL episode presenting a Kerry-Bush debate moderated by “Jim Lehrer” where Forte-as-Bush’s leitmotif in response to every question is whining that “it’s hard work being George W./President.


          “Jim Lehrer: And what happens in Phase Three?

          President George W. Bush: Jim, uh… you know, uh… we’re will working on Phase Three. You know, uh… and believe me, uh, we’re workin’ hard. Cause it’s… you know, it’s hard work. And we’re… workin’ hard. Just… every day, you know… workin’ evenings… ordering in. Workin’ hard together.

          [cut to split-screen with Bush and Kerry, who is taking a ridiculous amount of notes] ”

          “President George W. Bush: You know, September 11th changed how America must look at the world. I wake up everyday… and work hard. You know, thinking about how to protect America, you know… it’s my job. And it’s hard… it’s hard work. Frankly, I don’t know why- why my opponent even wants this job, you know… cause it’s hard. You know, a lot of people… working at meetings and… you know, it’s hard work and… [a buzzer interrupts]”

          (Full episode transcript here –

          I’m thinking Will Forte as Obama and/or Holder/Breuer responding to questions about why there hasn’t been one prosecution of bankers since the Crash, whining about how hard it is “to prove intent” or to find/prove any criminality.

          The best thing is Forte could hit the ground running with a ready-made script of direct quotes from the Real world.

          One Example: from Obama’s 60 Minutes Interview: “Some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street, in some cases, some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street, wasn’t illegal. That’s exactly why we had to change the laws.”)

          Another Example: from the mouth of Lanny Breuer (Holder’s Chief Lieutenant) how financial fraud is a “top priority” but it’s just “so hard” to prove all elements of the financial crimes (especially Intent!) beyond a reasonable doubt. (NYU February 2012 Conference on Financial Fraud Enforcement Forte could work the Breuer Covington/Burling connection to great effect here!

          And so on. There are so many examples!

          Will, are you listening?

    6. proximity1

      “Something in the zeitgeist “changed” indeed. Obama is, indeed, “no laughing matter.” Why?”

      I think it’s a combination of things; how much of each I leave to you and others to judge.

      not in order of importance, but as they occur to me–

      The president is thought of (by many who believe in “race”) as at least partly “Black” and, in addition, the first such to hold office. Already, many avowed right-wing critics of Obama are judged to be motivated by racism. So, liberals–esp.–are disarmed by race–which, when you think about it is a racist kind of reasoning. If race is immaterial, as it ought to be, it’s neither excuse for or shield from criticism. But the nation hasn’t gotten that far.

      Then, whose going to lampoon him? The Right mustn’t make fun of Obama because to do so is incongruous with a phony put-on ‘hatred’ of him, when, in fact, the real Right-wing conservatives–those with intelligence–dearly love Obama. They can’t, of course, admit that outside their safe inner circles, but only a moron among them really opposes Obama, and there aren’t that many of them and those there are don’t dare speak up, let alone make jokes publicly.

      Who’s left? Let’s see—“Liberals”, “Left”, “Left-ish”, etc of various stripes.

      They break down into two major cohorts both readily seen wherever these discussions occur. Obviously, the pro-Obama camp won’t use him as an object of ridicule.

      That leaves the disgruntled (or worse) members of the Left”. And, there, the wounds smart. It’s not “funny” how their hopes and expectations were so firmly and quickly dashed–and the president wasn’t shy about frequently adding insult to injuries. People such as that don’t find solace, revenge, or much of any payoff in resorting to humor when the situation springs from the bigger joke having been on them. They don’t want to laugh Obama off–and they know, too, that neither Obama nor anyone in his high circle of insiders cares enough about those injured and dejected former-believers to take their jokes and ridicule to heart.

      In short, this is a very bitterly held contempt. And that doesn’t make for the kind of attitude that sees things as funny and jokes about them.

      For a professional humorist, of course, the Lenos, the Daves, and so on, they joke about Obama, but the laughs come from people who are basically already disengaged from actually taking political affairs seriously in the first place. If you aren’t in that group, if for you politics is serious, this president is one that you either don’t want to laugh at or can’t laugh at.

      That’s how I see it, anyway.

    7. Walter Wit Man

      I know I have posted this a few times before, but this criticism of Obama does the most damage probably because it comes from black rappers:

      The end of the song where they show Obama’s press conference where he makes the joke about droning boys that touch his daughters is really effective.

      This is a great fucking song.

      I love how they the song starts out as a challenge to Glenn Beck.

    8. Fiver


      The reason it’s so difficult for MSM “liberal” (what a laugh that is in itself when you consider a two-bit shill like John Stewart) comedians to lampoon Obama doesn’t have such obvious “Idiot” aspects to target. Bush, Palin, Trump, Bachmann et al were comedic gold. Obama can’t be an object for knee-slap humour. He represents the complete corruption of everything the audience was raised to admire. Nothing funny there.

  25. MontanaMaven

    Yes, this is among Matt’s best pieces and Kudos for harking back to Adolph Reed. Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon were also on to BO from the get go. Paul Street too.
    I would also agree with “Yes, Maybe” that”, it is not so much a case of “the king is always good” as “our king of our party is always good” which doesn’t cut it around here. And I’d also agree with Garrett Pace that Matt is off about Obama’s joke telling. I have always found his speaking style sing songy and pedantic. He lectures not speaks. And his jokes are “labored”. His humor is often sarcastic which is a middling form of humor.

    It is interesting to me that I got up this morning and before coming to NC, I stopped by at Counterpunch and read an article on Chris Hayes’ new book and Morris Borman’s book “Why America Failed” that intrigued me. The books deal with “elites”, but Borman more accurately calls them “hustlers”. So I began an essay called “The Hustlers” about small town con artists. Not only are there a fair amount of con men out there, but our willingness to look the other way when it suits us is a chief reason the U.S. is in such a state of disrepair.
    I ended my piece with the same sort of thought as Matt. There is no dignity in being the object of the con or complicit in the con. Dignity is a word I am using more and more. I heard a friend on a Montana sight, 4&20 Blackbirds, use it a couple weeks ago. He said, “There is no dignity in voting Democratic”.
    Arthur Miller wrote about a man’s good name in “The Crucible”.

    So don’t laugh at the jokes. And call out the jokesters. And no deference to these grifters. The British have their Queen. They call the guy that runs the government by his first name and he lives in a town house. We made a big mistake with all this fluffery of Mr. President this and Commander in Chief that and sticking the guy in a palace. Really dumb.

  26. Psychoanalystus

    The guy’s a thug — a male lesbian thug.

    However, he is providing me with my daily quota of comic relief. Nothing is more hilarious than to see this lesbo-thug speak from a position of authority, threatening and posturing, as if his words meant anything anymore in a bankrupt, dishonored, and defeated America.

    Good luck, buddy. You’ll go down in history as “that” ridiculous lesbian president man.

  27. Hoze

    I always thought of American Presidents as farm grown Presidents, wether they are genetically modified is alltogather another matter. The recent crop of Presidents suggests a disturbing trend (starting from Bush I ), in that, all of them despite their superficial differences lack basic human moral and general sense. They are completely careless clueless and very cavalier about what they do. No matter what the cost is in lives money or anything else. The question that has always puzzled me most though, is who the **** farmer is!

  28. Michael G

    As an outsider Brit, I suggest those commenting should attempt this simple exercise:
    1) Identify a politician with credible policies and personal integrity.
    2) Estimate the chance of that politician ever becoming president.
    We have the delight of David Cameron, all the political principle of Mitt Romney without the good looks.

    1. F. Beard

      One should vote his conscience without regard to the so-called “chances of winning” that his candidate might have.

      If everyone did so then we would have to endure bad politicians for only a few terms at worst.

      1. enouf

        @F. Beard, @Warren Celli, @et al;

        I tend to agree F. Beard (atleast pragmatically in the present incorrugibly corrupt system we all endure).


        Not Voting == “passive aggressive anarchism” IMNSHO (yes, i just coined that term).

        Please don’t be succumbed by the likes of people such as [insert-some-Fox-News-personality-type, whose name i cannot recall!–who was on a C-SPAN show not too long ago, saying basically; “…The ignorant masses *shouldn’t* be voting … ” (with his smug-ass pond scum CIA psyops terrorist ways).]

        Indeed, WeThePeople need to more than just *get involved*, we need to take the reigns .. We need to be *hands on* with diligence. Much of the issue is WeThePeople need to get involved *starting* LOCALLY — since those Elected at this level then become the hand-picked corruptible types that then go on the higher County, then State, then Federal Offices — all the while being spoon-fed drivel talking-points (via Lobbyists) and corrupted each and every step up along the way. So maybe, just maybe, we need JoeThePlumber, and FarmerJim types to be elected *directly* into High Office, from the getgo.

        and / or ….

        Why hasn’t anyone else stepped up (been pushed) to the plate? Someone like even Dennis Kucinich, or Bernie Sanders, or Alan Grayson even? I mean; we all know the POTUS position is a Puppet Regime / Banana Republic one, and even *if* (HUGE *if* there) someone ‘Humane, Decent, Honorable’ got elected, we all know how limited His/Her capabilities are to effect systemic change. .. and yet — we have all those who believe the Exec. is (has become) a Dictatorship. It’s a false-dichotomy, an illusion, designed to confuse/divide/conquer. Doesn’t anyone recall how friggin BAD it was even prior to CitizensUnited?!

        Let the bologna be digested!

        ..just some random thoughts

        but in closing;
        something(s) Massive needs to happen, like EndTheFed + Constitutional Convention + BreakUp BigBanks…etc.. or work toward the Non-Aggression Principle (eventually) as the Basis for some fundamental new/refined Framework — where “The State” is either non-existant, ignored, or neutered that it’s never needed, or ineffectual against ANY Sovereigns’ Rights. Something like have *Peace Officers* comprised of our (involved-in-the-process) Neighbors only, not this massive Militarized Police State that can only exist through Aggression.


        p.s. Hope some of it made sense, heh

    2. Capo Regime

      Flapping my arms in an attempt to fly is a simple exercise but its futile.

      1.) Identify a politician with credible policies and personal integrity–gee that should be easy….odds of hitting the poweball lottery is greater or finding a pom who is not a transvestite.

      2.) the chance is zero.

    3. proximity1

      The U.S. are a young nation compared to England, Wales, Scotland and (parts of Ireland ;^) )

      So, you see, the “Obama Episode” has been taken very hard because, for a sizable number of Americans, all their remaining hopes for the nation’s political redemption were riding on this man, his campaign, and what the public supporting him had supposed he was all about.

      He won! He won! Many cheered “WE Won! We won!” But, instead, they learned that their last hopes for the redemption of the Republic were barren.

      No one in Britain had counted on any candidate to “redeem the nation” after Blair. People were already well-adjusted to the fact that it would be just another rota in the long long history.

      In the U.S., people are facing the possibility that “democracy in America” is now only to found in a book by de Tocqueville. That is not an easy step to take.

    4. CB

      Remember Kennedy’s crack about DC? A city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm. Maybe the most insightful summation that’s ever been offered about ambiance.

  29. vlade

    “We can work to organize ourselves, and our lives, with those of us who understand that power is something that must be taken, with money, organization, but most of all, with moral courage.”

    This is why the whole “human rights” stuff is one big con. If you believe that you have a “right” to something, you stop fighting for it. There’s no right w/o someone fighting for it – it’s at best a request which may or may not be granted.

    Freedom (etc.) is not a right, it’s a hard fought for benefit. I say fought for, for there’s no ultimate victory, when you can say “we have it now, and will have it forever”. Ultimately, you need power to have it – and we’ve been conditioned to see power, a neutral word, as negatively shaded always. The only people this benefits to are those who have no problem using the power.

  30. Hugh

    I am amused by the Obama apologists on this thread invoking partisan reasons why we should support their transpartisan candidate. I especially like the recycling of talkingpoints like “Vote for Obama because OMG Romney’s Supreme Court choices!” This was tired and discredited when it was trotted out 4 years ago. Since then Obama has put two people on the Supreme Court, both corporatists. The main difference is that Sotomayor is a technician whereas Kagan believes in the doctrine of vast Executive powers. Neither is liberal, neither is even remotely progressive. So we are being told to vote for Obama because he will nominate people to the Supreme Court who don’t represent your views. And this is supposed to induce me to vote for him how exactly?

    Oh yeah, because Romney’s choices will be so much worse. Oh noes! Except for this one little thing or actually 3 things. Democrats hold the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee is composed of 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The Democrats could vote down any nominee either in committee or on the Senate floor. Even if they didn’t have majority control, they could still filibuster any nominee. The only way Romney could nominate anyone to the Supreme Court is with the collusion of the Democrats. In other words, if a “terrible” Romney choice made it to the Supreme Court, it would be because Democrats helped him do it. And we all know this is the way it would go down because that’s how all the conservative nutcases currently on the Court got there. So again, this is supposed to make me want to vote for Democrats exactly why?

    Much as I like Matt’s piece, I have to say this could have and should have been written back in say the Fall of 2009. By that point, Obama had already put together an impressive record of selling out those who voted for him and had shown on virtually every issue that he is firmly opposed to any progressive and any progressive idea, bar none.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I disagree, Hugh. See DeLong’s “Class Of” formulation. With respect to Obama, Stoller is in the Class of 2012 (or maybe 2011?). That’s still “honorable,” I would say. The Class of 2013, supposing Obama to be re-elected, has no prospect of salvaging honor.

      I’m in the Class of 2008 with respect to Democrats (TARP). People who are in the Class of 1994 (NAFTA) would call me a late-comer!

      So it’s a continuum. Party tribalism and attachments to public figures are very hard to shake.

      1. Hugh

        Actually, I am not being critical of Stoller. I am concerned about all the lost time. I was calling for formation of a progressive party alternative to the two parties back in 2008. Nearly four years on, and nothing meaningful has been done. We had years to begin organizing, but all the major “progressive” venues during this time remained steadfastly tied to the Democrats. I can not think of one that has openly and irrevocably broken with them. I mean other than a few that never drank the koolaid in the first place.

        Stoller does an excellent takedown of Obama, but his assessment of Obama could be applied to any major figure and officeholder in the Establishment. As I said, I am concerned about the delay in forming an effective counterweight to the corporatist legacy parties. The longer the delay, the greater the likelihood that the correction will be violent and chaotic. We have already wasted 4 years. How many more can we afford to lose?

        1. Goin' South

          Hasn’t that point already passed?

          Looks to me like this election will end the same no matter what:

          Possibility 1:

          The Dems win. The R Party disintegrates with the Propertarians, the Fundies and the T-P-ers going their own very separate ways, leaving the Country Clubbers with nothing but the shell of a party.

          A bigger Lehman hits, finishing off this limping economy. The Dem brand is destroyed forever.

          Possibility 2:

          The Rs win, thus destroying the Democratic Party as the business unions, AAs and those disillusioned by Obama go their own ways, leaving the DLC-ers with nothing but the shell of a party.

          A bigger Lehman hits, combined with R “austerity,” and the Republican brand is destroyed forever.

          You do such of fine job of pointing out that these “elites” are doing nothing more than looting these days, and the reason is that they know the gig is up. The sort of fine, longer term thinking you write about on your blog are a much better use of time than electoral politics at the national level.

          1. Greg T

            Within 10 years, the United States will undergo full systemic collapse, along the lines of what you describe. Both parties represent only narrow economic interests and they don’t have much time left before their credibility is destroyed completely. What we have to do is organize outside of the political system, since trying to reform it is a doomed exercise. The changes will come from outside, via revolution ( hopefully peaceful )

          2. Goin' South

            “Forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.”

            IWW Preamble

            There are a variety of ways to do that, and all should be employed.

            But electoral politics at the national level are not among them.

          3. Greg T

            Everything should be considered; businesses reorganized as co-operatives, banks which are formulated similarly to the Bank of North Dakota, local communities determining best uses of energy and sustainable development. Parallel structures should be established for when the inevitable seizure of the current system occurs, we’ll have the means to rebuild.

          4. Hugh

            Aquifer, I came to the blogosphere back in 2004-2005 because I was looking for answers. Much of what I had thought to be true was proving not to be. It has been a learning experience for me, and I am far from finished learning.

            I would dispute that there have been progressive alternatives in previous elections. First, because we didn’t have an adequate analysis of what is going on in the country. The corruption and excesses of the Bush Administration we were familiar with. But it was not until the 2007 housing bust and the 2008 meltdown that the workings of Wall Street were truly exposed. Nor was it until this same time period and later during the healthcare debate, that we saw once and for all that Democrats were not wishywashy but doctrinaire neoliberals committed to the same excesses and abuses as the Republicans. I do not buy into the idea that there was a real progressive alternative simply because we were still in the process of finding out what was going on. How can you have an alternative in such a case? An alternative to what?

            The second thing is that my thinking has changed since I started calling for the formation of a progressive party representing all Americans in 2008. I now think that before there can be an alternative/progressive party, there must be a mass movement, that any new political party must come out of that movement, and that the movement must choose the candidates for its party, not the party itself. The party must be the creation and expression of the movement. It must be an instrument of the movement, not its fruition or culmination, which is to say that the members of the movement must stay engaged.

        2. Aquifer


          There was a progressive alternative to Obama in ’08, and alternatives to Dems as far back as at least ’96 – did you choose them? If not, why not?

          We have wasted more than 4 years – we have wasted decades bemoaning the “lack” of alternatives instead of supporting the ones that do exist. We keep calling for a “progressive” alternative, but when one comes along, to the extent we even engage in analyzing or discussing, we dismiss him/her – why?

          I keep bring up Stein – and get no play, except recently – “not a no-brainer” – reference to “Jewish economists” – question (the other day) about “balls” – what kind of an analysis is that?

          Please tell me what kind of “alternative” you have in mind? One that wouldn’t be dismissed in the same manner the ones we have now are ….

        3. Fiver

          I would take your concern with “time wasted” for the last 3 years under Obama much further. It is already very late in the game to enact changes on the scale now needed to salvage the planet from our grotesque abuse. I give it 10 years at the very outside, i.e., if we have not already embarked on a massive program of systems change, resource substitution, severe constraints on fouling ecosystems, a return to food produced by humans for humans, and much, much more, we will have to claim our true place as the weakest, least effectual generation in all of human history.
          So far as I’m aware there has so far been no serious effort to formulate even a comprehensive plan, let alone the enormous work involved in preparing to implement.

          Time is indeed short. Very, very short.

          1. CB

            Given the way we’ve fouled the water supply and the oceans–good lord, who would have thought we could trash the oceans–we’re past the point of no return. Nature has some entirely efficient and inexorable balancing protocols. Let’s consider the possibility that perpetual war is one, that we don’t chose to make war, we’re compelled to it in behavioral sink conditions.

    2. CogWheeler

      Trust me, I’m no Obama apologist. I just voted for him because about the only thing the Republicans would have done was rip up what was left of the American dream by destroying the GSE’s and continuing to let Maddoff run around. Rajaratnam? Hah! No matter how pussy-footed the Democrats have been with Fin Reg, they, and I’m sorry but Obama too, are a far cry better than Romney.

      Honestly, what a foolish indulgence of group “blog” think these posts have been. Obama is a goalie, the question for all presidents is whether they lift the stick and sign the stupid Bill. Volcker came in reconciliation, Lincoln’s 716 is still there, the Durbin Amendment passed. Amendments, in general were forwarded, and some survived. Popular support for Lincoln’s rule quashed Frank’s last minute effort at claiming the Volcker rule was a surrogate. The examples of a completely pissed-off professional electorate were legion. Taibbi is a sensationalist, who also has a “career”.

      If you want to go back to blowing up mountains, and putting mercury down your throat because Hodgey got vaporized, I say Bad Trade.

      1. Hugh

        Thank you for that fine example of frontier gibberish. Tell me again how many bills Obama has vetoed and which ones.

        Dodd-Frank in its entirety did not come close to reforming the financial system, and you want to quote a few isolated sections of it? And section 716 spinning off swaps desks? I mean do you really want to go there just after JPM’s fail whale fiasco where it called a swap operation a hedge, moved it to London, and that was supposed to make everything fine? Nor does section 716 seem to have mitigated any risks seeing as the parent bankholding companies are shifting their derivatives to their depositary with its FDIC backstop, putting taxpayers on the hook for any major losses.

        1. CogWheeler

          716 gave at least the opportunity to marginally increase transparency in the spin-off of those swaps. It wasn’t my goal to say DF was God’s gift to the common man. It was to say that it, and many of the other inner parts you find obscure, made a difference in an otherwise pathetic, political backdrop.

          1. Fiver

            No you weren’t. Stay down. Hugh will just put you on the canvas again if you don’t.

        1. Strangely Enough

          A nice little racist pejorative for an American citizen whom it was convenient to blow the @#$% up. And his kid.

          1. different clue

            “Hodgey” is a strange re-transcription of “Haji” which is indeed a culturacist epithet.

  31. Ted

    Although it makes me extremely depressed, I have to say your post is on the mark. I agree with one of the comments that this should have been publicized more aggressively in 2008.

  32. steelhead23

    Matt, This is excellent, stellar in fact. Others have said similar things (if not nearly so well), yet those alternative images of Obama as a frustrated Progressive, or a Kenyan socialist seem to dominate the people’s image of him. Either here, or on another blog I frequent, there is a blogger who almost always finishes his posts with “deception is the most powerful force in the world.” Not only is deception a powerful force, it seems that like patrons at a magic show, we want to be deceived. It isn’t only children that believe in Santa Claus.

    In November, I will be voting for Rocky Anderson, not so much because I agree with most of his rhetoric, but because he has shown that he actually believes what he is saying, which I find refreshing.

  33. Eureka Springs

    You know… if Democrats had just taken Clarence Thomas, his wife on the take, and both of their failure to report it all the way to impeachment proceedings. If Democrats under Obama had not conducted supreme nominations as awfully as every other one I’ve watched since Bork (which still got us an overwhelming bipartisan vote for Kennedy)… I might take those supreme howls by Dems seriously.

    But we know the entire Democratic party is an ongoing criminal enhancement/protection organization.

    f you are a Democrat or Republican, you are part of the problem. Both organizations must be sent the way of the Whigs. Time for a reboot.

    Not even for dog catcher!

  34. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In my house, when you make a mistake, you apologize.

    This is not talked about at all, but do voters make mistakes?

    I believe they do and so, let me start.

    I apologize for voting certain people into office in the past.

    My new strategy: vote, when moved to, for the one who will do less harm
    (do no harm would be ideal).

    PS: if you voted for the losing side every single time in the past 20 some years, even though you didn’t mean to, you need not apologize.

  35. JIm

    “Few really get who he is, at his core, and almost no one is willing to publicly point it out”
    “(his enormous grasping social climbing tendencies, his eager corporate good old boy persona, his narcissistic calculations)”

    Both Clinton and Obama, understood at an early age, what steps and attitudes were necessary in order to rise in our contemporary structure of power.

    Both men are experts in the absence of personal moral discipline–which is why they have been so successful.

    Their particular kind of charisma was ultimately one of self-deification.

    They quickly understand that one must never personally submit to any renunciatory demand or command, especially in a situation where they might lose power.

    We live in a culture of no limits with a leadership of no limits—and it is within this sense that Yeats realized that the center will not hold.

  36. OTOH

    I’d like to think that Obama’s cynicism is a psychological defense. His job is utter degradation. He’s a meat puppet, like those guys who dance outside the cheesy tax prep office in statue of liberty costumes. He has to divert and undermine the decency of an entire population for mafia bankers and paramilitary psychos who push him around and despise him. He has to take everything you ever believed in and dunk it in shit. He’s a loogie horked up by a tubercular state, a revolting glossy sign of disease.

    1. Fiver

      No, he does not. He could call a press conference tomorrow and lay out every single crime he’s been “forced” to commit, and by whom. He could bring down the entire criminal class, if he chose. But he will not, because he is having the time of his life as the Drone King, the protector of Wall Street, and in general, the highest paid whore of all time.

  37. James

    In Spanish:

    “Entre broma y broma la verdad se asoma.”

    “The truth peeps out between the jokes.”

  38. Daily Kos commenter

    Kos here. Spent the day bagging up body parts for the God Emperor Obie One. He couldn’t sleep last night and so called another drone strike, bagged himself another kindergarten on the PowerPoint Death List. Dead children everywhere, those bulging eyeballs, these reeking guts, this splatter? I almost puked, until a fellow Kos talked some sense into me, saying Don’t go all Gandhi on us. Come on, let’s bang down some doors for the God Emperor, stick the barrel in the face of some shrieking bug-woman, chase kids scuttling in the dark like rats, gun them down, call in some drone strikes. You know the drill. You know the jangle. We’re Kos, and where Kos goes there is splatter, guts everywhere, see that dead girl in the ditch over there, with the flies and the dogs – that’s what Kos is. That’s civilization, It ain’t pretty, nothing but crap, chaos, murder and noise. But we’re Kos, we serve the God Emperor Obie One, and there is no alternative.

    1. Elizabeth

      Support your local Obama-supporting Web sites — because without them, the drone strikes will get ordered by someone who doesn’t CARE.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      You’re better than Hammett. Write YouTube NOIR OBAMA scripts and sell em!

    1. myiq2xu

      Matt Stoller on 5/7/08:

      All I’ll add is that it’s time to think through the consequences of a party where there is a new chief with massive amounts of power. I’ve been in the wilderness all my political life, as have most of us. The Clintonistas haven’t, and they know what it’s like to be part of the inside crew. We have a leader, and he’s not a partisan and he can now end fractious intraparty fights with a word and/or a nod. His opinion really matters in a way that even Nancy Pelosi’s just did not. He has control of the party apparatus, the grassroots, the money, and the messaging environment. He is also, and this is fundamental, someone that millions of people believe in as a moral force. When you disagree with Obama, you are saying to these people ‘your favorite band sucks’.

      Like many of us, I endorsed Obama, gave him money, and I intend to work to get him elected. He is attempting to completely rewrite the rules of politics, and we should try to figure out what that means for where we take our meager work. Obama is now the party leader. And he has ensured and we have given him the mandate that when he speaks, he speaks for all of us. I hope he’s a vibrant progressive when he gets into office, and we should begin figuring out how to put ourselves in a position to help him take the country in a progressive direction.

      1. riverdaughter

        Um, one thing I would like to clear up about the Clintonistas. Many of us were NOT political neophytes. I was a TU at DailyKos and made the rec list on numerous occasions. I’ve been interested in politics since I was an adolescent and ran for office (and won) in my township on a Democratic ticket.
        Heidi Li Feldman was certainly no neophyte. Nor was Anglachel, whose journal showed a profound understanding of the two halves of the Democratic party. There were many, many others. Many of them were college educated professionals who had been long time Democratic voters and knew the issues pretty well. I’ve met them at work, at Princeton, in my own family.
        It’s a nice story to believe that the Clintonistas were just a bunch of uneducated Roseanne Barr types. It made dismissing their votes a lot easier on the conscience. But it wasn’t any more true than the idea that Obama duped a bunch of naive first time voting college students.
        The Clintonistas made their decision based on careful evaluation of the candidates, just as Matt did. It’s just that we used different criteria and actual data.

  39. MontanaMaven

    We may be approaching some kind of tipping point. Yves and Matt Taibbi talked about banksters as “mafia” engaged in all kinds of criminal activity. The more this kind of language gets into the mainstream discussion maybe we have a shot discussing alternatives. It’s one thing to say “government is corrupt”. It’s another to say that we are fine with that. And we are fine with that as long as we engage in the electoral system as if it made a difference.

  40. Greg T

    This post takes a clear-eyed, unsentimental look at the real Barack Obama. It applies Occam’s Razor: President Obama doesn’t pursue progressive policies because he is not a progressive. The evidence points to the opposite conclusion, in economic matters, he is unfailingly neoliberal. He only moves left if forced to, or if he sees a political benefit in doing so. Interstingly, he describes himself as ” practical ” or someone who ” does what works. ” This is wrong. If he did what works, the economy would be on a much stronger footing right now. So even his self-characterization as a problem solver is inaccurate.

  41. Conscience of a Conservative

    I don’t think Obama tricks anyone, but that the left and the media give him more of a free pass than they would a Republican for fear of handing the reigns over to the enemy.

  42. Sam

    School bus conversations, whispering, and circular statements should be left back in the 5th grade.

  43. Lola-at-Large

    PUMAs knew, but they were ridiculed endlessly by people on the left now parroting the exact same talking points they were using in 2008. Stoller & Taylor Marsh both come to mind as examples.

    PUMAs still know, and they’ve been working quietly behind the scenes to upend Obamas narrative. Looks like it’s working.

    1. CB

      Do you really think so? I always thought the media played up the PUMAs because it was the kind of story that attracts attention and is easy to cover.

      1. Lola-at-Large

        Yes, I do. As Maragert Mead said:

        “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

        It’s really all in the technique. The left was ironclad united around an unknown entity in 2008. It was ripe to be challenged. Obama certainly helped with his dismal performance, but PUMAs never shut up. They fractured, but they never shut up. And they had truth on their side, which boomeranged resonance as it became clear that this smallish group was right.

        When they fractured, small cells organized, feeding all these talking points into the intertubes nonstop without ever letting on they were PUMA. The lesson here: Women & elephants never forget.

    2. nobody

      The PUMAs never truly knew, because properly understanding the Clintons was a prerequisite to properly understanding Obama, and because, in a nutshell, they were throwing down for dynasty.

      Those who knew, knew not to rally around any of the products promoted by the duopoly.

      But I would like to think they have been helpful out on the intertubes.

  44. Stewie Griffin

    Old fools fall for the same old tricks…
    and new fools rise to take their place.
    Hucksters of yore thud into shallow graves…
    replacement politicians’ footprints squarely on their backs.
    And doe-eyed voters march to the ballot box…
    eager to express their desire for change
    by electing the same old kleptos, larcenists
    and porch climbers as before.

  45. Elizabeth

    Thanks for this brave piece. It nails it. Completely. Grow up, America.

    And by the way, Obama’s backer, Bill Ayers, was a member of the Weather Underground. The fact that he was associated with a terrorist act in the ’70s is perhaps the least interesting part of Ayers’ background, I have read. The Weather Underground itself was an infiltrator of SDS — unless you believe that Tom Hayden et al. actually welcomed the addition of a violent wing of their organization. Sure, it happens all the time, right? A brilliant PR move toward radical change in America — blowing up buildings and people.

    And look what happened when one of the first people to be taken in by the Obama song-and-dance, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, took up the challenge to “start a national dialogue about race” and told the truth about the history of race relations in this country. (Imagine being told that talking about any other genocide in history is “divisive.”) Look how fast Obama dropped a friend of some 20-plus years. As in, Gee, I was only just kidding about being a liberal Chicago community organizer with friends there. Ch-ch-boom!

    And have you noticed, liberal friends on Facebook, the ad to your right inviting you to stand up for LGBT along with Obama? What a cheap shot — as if this “stand” he’s taking costs him anything, anything at all. How laughable that to prove our support for the cause, we have to vote for this fool, who supports bank’ taking of homes and property from the gay as well as the straight. Don’t insult my intelligence.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Hey LBR,

        I wanted to thank you for this book recommendation the other day during our discussion about the Middle East during WWI and the Persian Holocaust:

        (it has nothing to do with the Persian Holocaust that I’m aware of, but discusses Aaron Aaronsohn, an early explorer of Palestine and a spy for Britain and he helped lay the groundwork for the state of Israel).

        It’s interesting to see the criticism in the reviews at Amazon. The book seems to ruffle some feathers.

        And it’s interesting to note that the author was denied material as some of it is still classified!!!! We are talking almost 100 years ago and we can’t find out the origins of Israel because its a national security risk or something?

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Great points.

      1. Yep, Bill Ayers seems to have been Obama’s handler and is largely responsible for writing Obama’s book: That link is to a simple analysis of Obama’s book but its logic is very convincing. It’s also obvious to me the Weather Underground were agents provocateurs (they conveniently got off from their crimes like an agent provocateur would).

      2. Yea, Rev. Right was thrown under the bus and that revealed Obama’s true character.

      3. Yep. Saw Obama boosters at Pride events and just can’t believe there is almost no push back against Obama from almost any liberal group. The only groups pushing back are those that care about the over million deportations Obama has done (more in 3 years than Bush did in 8)

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        WWM, looks like Bobama = preprogrammed Puppet Prez (in blackface, to make progressive fools like me fall for the Big Lie that “racist America” might be falling away, catapulting false “hope and change”). As if we had a choice: Clinton Rhodes Dynasty or Trojan Horse in Blackface.

        Faulkner: “The past is not dead. It’s not even past.” Let’s recall 1776 and act as our founders did against Dynastic Despots of the Victorian Holy Roman Reich.

  46. mrtmbrnmn

    well played sir!…

    speaking of obama impersonators, this appeared a year ago. it is not exactly mark twain. but, as you correctly point out, things just keep getting worse with this president guy…

    – By Bernard Jenkins –


    Last month, Reggie Brown, the Barack Obama impersonator, was the guest entertainer at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. The room full of whiter-than-white rightwing fatheads laughed it up as the impersonator cracked vaguely race-tinged jokes in pitch-perfect Obama style complete with ear-to-ear Cheshire cat grin, characteristic Obama head cocking and stop-and-start speech rhythms. After a couple minutes of this you would have sworn you were watching the real Obama. Then, five minutes into his act, when he started cracking jokes about Republican candidates like Willard “Mutt” Romney, the walking department store mannequin, and the human blimp Chris Christie, the managers of the conference came out and bum-rushed him off the stage in mid-joke.

    But the joke is on us.

    After 2 ½ years of the Obama presidency, you have to wonder: Is Barack Obama the real Barack Obama impersonator?

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, the largely unknown Barack Obama was the half-black/half-white silver-tongued Democratic candidate who speechified intelligently about racism, claimed to be against the Iraq war, promised to reform the healthcare system, constrain Wall Street, protect Social Security and Medicare, close Guantanamo, end the illegal and immoral torture of terrorism suspects, support something resembling gay marriage, stop illegal wiretapping and restore the US Constitution that had been shredded to coleslaw by the criminal Bush-Cheney administration. He declared himself the bringer of “Change We Can Believe In”.

    That Barack Obama trounced the old coot John McCain in the Presidential election by 10 million votes.

    Here, a great majority of Americans felt or hoped, was a literate, elegant, charming, confident, liberal/progressive, who promised to lead the country to the light after the eight dark, depressing outlaw years of Bush-Cheney. Yes We Can!

    Whatever happened to that guy???

    Almost since his inauguration, the Barack Obama who ran for and won the 2008 Presidential election so resoundingly and seemed to instill a sense of sanity, progress, prosperity and peace in this twisted, troubled and traumatized country, has been as hard to find as Saddam Hussein’s WMDs.

    The lean physique, loping stride, melifluous baritone, herky-jerky speech patterns and wide-screen grin are still there every time he appears on the TV machine. But it is as if we are watching a remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. President Obama bears a striking physical resemblance to candidate Obama (although with greyer nappy hair). His actions and policies, however, more and more resemble that of a puppet or ventriloquist’s dummy of the mendacious, malevolent, crack-brained, cement-headed, corporate-toe-sucking GOP.

    His rap sheet of betrayals of his own previous promises and positions is already loooonnnng. He gave get-out-of jail-free cards to Bush and Cheney and their entire cohort of outlaws and unindicted co-conspirators. And even filled his administration with Bush-Cheney flunkies. He has followed and, indeed, expanded many of the Bush-Cheney illegalities. He continued the Bush bank robbery/bailout by shoveling $17 trillion of taxpayers’ moolah to El-Qaeda of Wall Street and encourages their continuing thievery.

    He sent 60,000 more troops to the Afghanistan graveyard of empires and is slow-walking some of them back home as well as (presumably) the last 50,000 US troops still in Iraq. However, he will wind up neither military catastrophe as long there are still $billions of dollars to be stolen from them.

    He sold out healthcare to the rapacious and poisonous pharmaceutical and insurance conspiracies. He welched on the promise to end the Bush tax cuts. He is silent as the Sphinx while GOP outlaw governors and state legislatures steal public pensions, squelch unions, smear and fire teachers and pass new “Jim Crow” laws to keep Americans from voting.

    He never challenges the GOP/Teabag racists and ignoramuses who call him every kind of foul name variation of the “n” word. But he constantly barks and snarks at his own base of too-faithful Democrats, who presume to utter from time to time a few squeaks of disapproval of him and his actions. Just like a ventriloquist’s dummy, he continually repeats the GOP’s lies, phony arguments and cooked-up talking points as if they are his own words and ideas. He even seems to have given up basketball (too ethnic??) and developed a golf jones, playing regularly with (not caddying for?) fat rich corporate and political white guys.

    And now, in the ultimate and inexcusable betrayal of his own alleged beliefs (and a majority of Americans) his inner GOP/Teabag/Koch Brothers corporatism has emerged in full monte. In response to the GOP’s trumped up “shock doctrine” debt ceiling deadline crisis, Obama has offered up on the butcher’s block the human sacrifice of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for nothing, piffle.

    As if channeling Herbert Hoover and the robber barons of old, this presumed Democrat is destroying the American Dream and fulfilling the GOP’s 80-year-long wet dream: the end of the social contract between government and its citizens.

    Unlike the Obama impersonator Reggie Brown, President Obama will not be bum-rushed off the stage. But which Obama will be running for re-election in 2012? And which Obama – candidate, President or Reggie Brown – is the real Obama impersonator?

    In this rigged game of 3-Card Monte, in which every card looks like Barack Obama, but only one of them (or none of them) is the real Barack Obama, there are no winners, only losers. This will not end well for America. No joke! (11 July 11)

  47. mac

    The idea that folks volunteer to be conned is NOT news it has been the driving fact for success of conmen for many years.
    Conmen such as Barack know this and use it to advantage.

    1. Ms G

      For sure it has been a cornerstone of advertising, and quite a successful premise. It gave us a country with GDP composed 75% of consumer spending (i.e., buying stuff). Aren’t political propaganda and commercial advertising two shoots from the same root?

        1. Ms G

          CB, I don’t disagree. Just wondering how much of that 75%/GDP is fueled by advert-induced buying with no relation to need or sanity. Which raises an interesting question about whether we are capable of an economy that supports well being without never-ending buying of stuff.

          1. CB

            I wonder how much is bought on credit. Until sometime in the 1980s, I was strictly cash and carry. I came from a family that was up to the eyeballs in credit. As a self-supporting adult, I carried a couple of gas credit cards, which I never used but had with me in case I needed gas and didn’t have cash.

            I was also poor. Sometime, I guess around the mid 80s, I realized living bare bones isn’t fun and it isn’t character strengthening. It’s depressing and enervating.

            Yes, some people living on credit are impulsive and immature. But some are quite aware of what they’re doing and weigh their credit purchases very carefully. Credit is the only thing that allows them to sleep in a bed, cook in pots and pans, keep food in the frig, have enough clothes to be adequately presentable at work, etc. I’d like to know how much of the outstanding personal credit is supporting those kinds of purchases because the 40 years past and still ongoing wage cram down and benefit responsibility shift has reduced many people to necessity credit.

          2. F. Beard

            Credit is the only thing that allows them to sleep in a bed, cook in pots and pans, keep food in the frig, have enough clothes to be adequately presentable at work, etc. CB

            Credit creates the need for more credit. You needed credit because other people had driven up your cost of living with credit.

            Of course the process is confused since credit is also used to create new and better goods and services at lower prices.

            Still, credit creation is theft of purchasing power whatever its seeming advantages.

  48. Schofield

    Obama is no worse than millions of other lazy Americans who can’t be bothered to look into why and how capitalism undermines itself.

  49. dirtbagger

    Okay NC, we get it – you don’t like Obama, but the nitpicking on some of these posts is beginning to sound like incessant whining. He is a politician and he acts like a politician, so what?

    I don’t see Obama to substantially better or worse than previous presidents during my voting life.

    At least Obama has never sent me a draft notice – YET.

    1. Ms G

      Not to worry. He’s already got reinforcements covered that won’t require you to get drafted. With the Executive Order version of DREAM Act it is possible that 800,000 human beings will be offered the great privilege of serving the Republic as cannon fodder.

    2. CB

      Eliminating the draft was one of the worst mistakes of the last century. Either everybody participates or no one does. What we have now is a poverty draft and mercenaries.

      1. Ms G

        Yes, +1000. I happen to believe that if the draft were still in effect a lot of the US warring in the Middle East after 9/11 would have been orchestrated on a far smaller (and dare we speculate) rational scale.

        1. enouf

          It’s more likely 9/11 never would’ve happened, since, as you know it was purposely designed and “allowed” to happen. be able to initiate the perpetual need for Neverending Preemptive War.


  50. Doug Terpstra

    Matt Stoller is a superb snake handler. Despite all the scale shedding, slithering, sliming, and venom, he nailed Obama dead on. He makes a mongoose look slow. Obamapologists simply need to read this killer article again; Stoller left the serpent no wiggle room at all.

    The AIG bonus fiasco is the perfect example to highlight, comming right after his inauguration, of a jaw-dropping in-your-face slap at all Americans that immediately telegraphed who Obama was working for — Wall Street (just after appointing Emanuel for AIPAC). This outright deception, including bald lies by Dodd, Geithner, and Obama got very little media play—a terrible omen of much worse to come.

    For once I agree with Sarah Palin: “anybody but Obama!”

  51. Joe Bauers

    Bravo! But you forgot some important details:

    – Obama is personally responsible for the bubonic plague
    – Obama kidnapped the Lindbergh Baby
    – Obama made my car battery die
    – Obama created JeBron James from a handful of clay
    – Obama has the cure for cancer in his desk drawer, but refuses to share it
    – Obama liked “Gigli”
    – You are completely batshit fucking crazy

    1. mk3872

      … don’t forget that Yves and Matt also blame the Barrett’s loss to Walker on Obama.

      Oh, and they blame the death of public employee unions on Obama, too.

      You see, it’s all Obama, not the failure of lefty “activists” and the Democratic party.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Hey, what’s Obama’s position on federal public employee unions collectively bargaining for the terms of their emplyments?

        Oh, that’s right. HE OPPOSES IT.

        At least I don’t see Obama proposing that federal workers get this right or even do it on an ad hoc basis. And Obama unilaterally froze worker pay in 2010 saying we needed broad sacrifice.

        Obama not only doesn’t support collective bargaining, he’s an abusive boss that forces sacrifice on his rank and file workers while the executive suite gets taxpayer bailouts and bonuses.

        Didn’t Obama say he would put on his work boots and roll up his sleeves, or some other such claptrap. He did nothing of the kind. Like the public option, Obama’s political support for Wisconsin labor was a kiss of death. It was a trick.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          WWM, he’s responsible also for removing the “inflation adjustment” to Social Security checks, a complete betrayal of the “little people,” even as he refused to do anything about SS abuse by “the rich.”

    2. Hugh

      I stopped adding to this last November but here are 300 or so reasons for not supporting Obama. The problem with you bots is that if we talk about this in broad terms, you say where’s the evidence. And if we give you the evidence, you start whining about overkill. Just because you have drunk the koolaid and are lost in your Democratic tribalism is just not much of an argument. If Obama had done a good job, we would be saying so. He hasn’t. Don’t blame us for Obama’s record, blame your candidate.

    3. Fiver

      Here’s a tip – that sort of vacuous blather typically works better with an audience that knows a great deal less than you do, not more.

  52. Linda Cicerchi

    Now people are willing to listen to the voices in the wilderness from 2008. I suppose many don’t remember giving Michigan’s delegates to Obama during the primaries even though Obama wasn’t even in the Michigan primary? I also remember the NAFTA con as well as many others. The man taught one entry level class on Consitutional law and all of the sudden became a Constitutional Law expert?

    Unfortunately Mitt is still worse.

    1. mk3872

      “The man taught one entry level class on Consitutional law and all of the sudden became a Constitutional Law expert?”

      He TAUGHT constitutional law for 12 years, genius.

        1. Gus

          Oh my god, is this a PUMA site? Do you fuckers really think Hillary Clinton isn’t in complete and total hock to the 1%? Unbelievable.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            The Clintons are just as beholden to the elite as the Obamas are. Fuck the Democrat party. All of them.

            For instance, Hillary is just as much a warmonger as Obama when it comes to Syria. Both are advocating and supporting illegal war against Syria, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and illegal propaganda.

            I must say I am quite shocked at the extent that Obama backtracked on his promises . . . and maybe Hillary would not have backtracked as much . . . but I don’t think so. Both are equally corrupted. Obama was simply doing what he’s told.

          2. proximity1

            Does “PUMA” stand for ‘party-unity my ass!’ ?

            If so, then what you’re trying here is to shame critics of Obama, the guy who has systematically betrayed millions of Americans’ faith and hopes, for their lack of “party unity”?

            When the “party” includes people outside the self-seving glitteratti, you can try the shaming tactic.

            Until that time, remember: in partisan politics, we’re orphans. Our partisan politics is wealthy-owned-and-operated. Obama, cynically and deliberately falsely presented himself as opposed to that.

            But he isn’t opposed to it. Obama is ‘Money’s’ man.

            If your reply to that is, “So what? Who isn’t?” then you’re part of what we’re obliged to learn to reject and root out in our putrid politics-as-usual.

        2. mk3872

          For real ?? You don’t like him because he taught an elective class ??

          My god. I’m not sure which Obama Derangement Syndrome is worse: Right-wing baggers or Left-wing baggers ??

          1. myiq2xu

            Classic Obot trolling.

            Nobody said they don’t like Obama because he taught an elective class.

            Good try, thanks for playing.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            It’s just a part of the false story that has been sold about Obama. We were told he was an academic scholar which now appears to be a huge exaggeration.

            He most likely didn’t even write his first book.

            The few other pieces of Obama’s writing was miserable–as the linked piece shows us. My guess is that Obama tried his hand at poetry because his real father, Frank Marshal Davis, was a poet (and this may also be why Obama ended up in Chicago–his real father lived there). Also, Obama didn’t write on or get good grades to get on the Law Review, from what I understand–it was a popularity decision (or, maybe the spooks were able to manipulate this as well).

            It’s not the fact Obama isn’t the intellectual he poses as . . . it’s the fact that Obama appears to be a CIA creation . . . or has some secret past.

            You tell me why a barely 30 year old new lawyer get a 6 figure deal to write a book and then gets a ghost writer. And then Obama didn’t even finish the book on time and it seems unlikely he gave his 6 figure advance back even though he probably was required to do so. I think he got paid yet more when he finally produced the ghost written book.

          3. CB

            President of Harvard Law Review is an elected position. Which, by report, Obama campaigned for as he campaigned in 2008: secure all the constituencies. After election, keep your promises to the right. The man is entirely a main chance opportunist. Everything is about him.

            If anyone here has another narrative, please tell.

        3. CB

          So, this is an undergrad course that’s open to anybody regardless of major? This is one of those electives that students use to clear liberal arts credits requirements? Like, Intro to Con Law or Poli Sci I or Pysch I or the one I did, Urban Studies?

  53. riverdaughter

    That was excellent, Matt. I need a cigarette.
    But you do realize that those of us at The Confluence were writing almost exactly the same things four years ago. We never stooped to personal attacks and the idea that Obama is a socialist is laughable. The real socialists wouldn’t have him in their club.
    It’s good to see that you’ve been able to write what you have surely known for quite awhile now.
    Now, if we could only get you to unpack your feelings about the candidate you rejected, at least to understand why you did it, we might actually get somewhere.
    The manipulators are everywhere and it is very easy to persuade people to reject choices that might be better for them. Just think about who benefits. Who benefitted in 2008?

    1. Gus

      The same people who always benefit, genius. The rich and powerful. Who was the last president who wasn’t owned by the rich and powerful? Truman?

      1. riverdaughter

        Some candidates are receptive to the rich and powerful, among others, because they are professional politicians.
        And some professional politicians owe their careers to the rich and powerful.
        It’s important to know the difference.

        1. Fiver

          And when, exactly, was the last time a “professional politician” was not also the candidate of the wealthy and powerful at the national level?

  54. Daily Kos commenter

    Kos here. I was picked up by the police and taken to a military prison without any arrest warrant.

    Without being read my Miranda rights.

    Without being told why I had been seized.

    Without access to an attorney.

    Without having any of my constitutional rights respected.

    And I’m currently being held outside the United States, without a trial or judicial proceeding, without a known release date.

    Another victim of indefinite detention under NDAA.

    In addition, I’ve been the victim of repeated torture. blinded by pepper spray, interrogated hundreds of times, beaten, tortured with broken glass, barbed wire, burning cigarettes, and sexual assaults.

    And as much as it pains me to have to say this, I need to get it off my chest:

    Enough is enough! When I vote for Obama this November, I will not be voting with nearly as much enthusiasm as I did last time!

  55. K Ackermann

    The reason Obama makes me puke blood has nothing to do with buying a bag of hope but opening a bag of go-fuck-yourself. After all, the 2006 mid-term promised change, and I got a pocketful, so I was looking for a trick.

    I wanted to hate him, and assign a shopping list of nasty traits much as this essay does, but when you really ponder it, it doesn’t scan. When you really ponder it,Obama gets smaller and smaller… about the size of a small turd or a Raisonette… and its surrounded with questions.

    The process went something like this:

    ● With his margin of victory and the level of engagement from the population, he was handed the mandate he begged for. Now he has options – use the mandate or not, but if not, then why not? It wasn’t laziness – the guy held a press conference every time he passed gas. Was it a dearth of ideas? No! We heard all about the things he wanted to do – he had a rudder to go along with the wind at his back. He seemed to be moored.

    ● The economy and economics treated Obama like Job (of the bible). It was terrible luck to be elected at the height of a raging economic storm, so maybe that’s why he was moored. He gets an economic skipper, mate, and steward, but the first thing they did was steer toward some banks, and then bail the wrong way. Honestly, to end up with Summers, Geithner, and Reubin. The odds are way against randomly choosing the worst, second worst, and third worst person that could possibly be picked. Nobody is that unlucky, and nobody can be that stupid – it was divine in the tradition of Job.

    ● After smashing on the rocks, he and his putrid, scuurvy-infested crew set sail for the fair lands of health care reform, and to make good time, they threw all the ammo and weapons overboard, and raised a little white sail. In these lands, there be republicans – literally trolls on the bridges of progress. Obama wasn’t about to allow them to gut his reforms – he can do it just fine himself, thank you. That’s how it’s done! What’s that line the black sherriff said in Blazing Saddles as he held a gun to his own head?

    ● Obama finally found calling. Where he’s not so good at lifting people up, he’s proven adept at killing people and gutting centuries of hard-earned human rights. He’s so good at killing innocent people that it’s beyond me why he doesn’t stand on the roof of the White House and shoot passing children with a high-powered rifle. He may act as if he enjoys the hell out of killing children, but I don’t think his heart is in it – not like Cheney.

    could it be… is it possible that Obama is completely powerless to affect positive populist change or to choose the better of two alternatives?

    If that’s the case, what happens when the vapid, heartless, soulless, fake plastic say-anything, do-anything, corporations-are-people-my-friend-saying, rent-seeking,magic-underwear-wearing one-percenter is “voted” in?

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      K, re “health care reform” FIRST (before the RealEconomy)–Do you think that this GIFT in the bag for BigMedPharma was related to Michelle Obama’s profitable position within the womb of BigMedPharma in Chi? IMMEDIATE graft.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Nope. You need to put the campaign into your timeline.

      1. FISA reform, July 2008. Obama, after promising to filibuster, votes for a bill that retroactively immunizes telco felonies in Bush’s program of warrantless surveillance. At the time, that told us that (1) Obama throws the left under the bus, since this issue was (ostensibly) very important to the (putative) left, (2) Obama’s a corporatist, and (3) the Fourth Amendment means nothing to Obama, nor the rule of law. #1 and #2 foreshadow the entire Obama administration; #3 foreshadows the mortgage settlement and Obama’s normalization of Bush’s executive power grabs.

      2. TARP, October 2008. TARP was passed by Democrats, and Obama whipped the CBC for the bill. (Since Obama was at that point the President-presumptive, the bill would never have passed without him, even though calls to the Congressional offices ran 99 to 1 against the bill.) Thus, at a crisis point where he had maximum leverage, when the FIRE sector’s true state first emerged into public consciousness, Obama (1) backed all the Treasury and Fed bailouts that the Bush administration has previously done (which were in the trillions, not the petty cash of TARP’s $700 billion, (2) did not back breaking up the “too big to fail” banks, and (3) extracted no concessions from the banksters whatever. This foreshadows Obama’s capitulation to (I would actually say “ownership by”) the banksters, as shown by every policy his administration put in place.

      It was perfectly clear what Obama was in 2008. Naturally, on FISA, Obama supporters weathervaned, ’cause everything is OK when it’s your guy, and on TARP, Obama supporters are torn between an embarrassed silence and claims that Obama prevented the depression he did not, in fact, prevent, and from which we might have had a chance of emerging had the FIRE sector been reined in. Again, it’s their guy, so everything’s jake.

      1. Doug Terpstra

        I’ll second Leonova; very nicely done.

        This article and thread is one for the personal archives, a definitive indictment of the serpent in the garden. Thanks especially to all the Obamapologists who brought out the very best in Lambert, Walter, Hugh, the DK pretender, and others. They couldn’t have done it without you.

  56. Abe, NYC

    I wish Obama defeated. With him in the office there’s practically no chance of a positive change until 2020. With him out, there’s a slim chance in 2016.

  57. Austin Morton

    This is a ridiculous thread. I hope you all don’t get the President Romney you deserve.

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          James: “less filling” – the “Bud Lite” water-for-beer-at-the-same-price scam. Didn’t the D-heads of America fall for it? Belly-up for the slaughter, sheep.

      1. Abe, NYC

        Actually, 12 years ago this country got a president who was not elected, but appointed by his dad’s buddies.

        This, actually, is the most depressing fact that isn’t given the attention it deserves. There would still be a great deal of hope in the system if the judicial branch was impartial and untainted. Courts are really the last line of defense for democracy, and they are even now, I think. But with the Supreme Court managed by 1%, I don’t know how long this line will hold.

        Just read about Montana…

  58. Dan Kervick

    I think all this venting about personalities and the character of a single politician is mostly a waste of time. It might feel good to blow off steam but it doesn’t change anything. Matt’s posts on this subject strike me, frankly, as self-indulgent distractions.

    Barack Obama doesn’t run America. He works for the people who run America. He’s a typical Ivy League twit who believes all the same stuff all the other Ivy League twits believe. He hires from more or less the same pool of approved folks from which both parties hire – the people who have been vetted as “safe” by the 1% who run the country.

    The Treasury Secretary comes from Goldman Sachs no matter what.

    The people who foot the bill to get Presidents elected all know each other.

    The US Senate consists 100% of very wealthy people. They are chosen by the wealthy to protect the interests of the wealthy from non-wealthy Americans who might get uppity ideas. They are a gang of thieving overlords. We need to throw them all out.

    Until we depose the plutocracy, it doesn’t matter all that much who is elected to the presidency. The parties do correspond to marginal differences in the day-to-day administration of the predator state. Those marginal differences might be enough to tilt the balance in favor of one joker or another on election day. But obsessing or ranting or kvetching about a single man is the mindless addiction of politicos.

    1. Lambert Strether

      You’re saying that the people who are being conned shouldn’t gain insight into the artist who is conning them? That seems odd.

      * * *

      In any case, if Obama is the curtain, and not “the man behind the curtain,” still it is essential to pull the curtain aside, which this post helps to do. Not everyone is as enlightened as you!

      1. Dan Kervick

        I’m just saying that if people want America to change, they are going to need to organize a grass roots movement for change that has the goal of toppling and displacing some very big fish, all across the country. We need to build from the ground up, and replace hierarchical systems of economic power and control with democratic systems. Nothing very important is going to happen because we elect a different president; or elect the same president; or vote for some third person; or vent our rage on blogs at various powerful people and then go back to suffering and griping.

        Bad politicians are symptoms of the disease, not its cause.

    2. Fiver

      Wrong. “They’re all blah, blah” provides a form of blanket cover that is not available if each and every one of these supreme pricks is personally flayed bare for all to see. It is precisely the character of these lizards that must be revealed, and especially so given that the majority of the public is largely or completely ignorant when it comes to arguing the issues.

  59. Paul Tioxon

    How did you and the man you worked for, former Cong rep Grayson from FL, manage to lose the election to a teaparty fanatic?

    “AMY GOODMAN: Well, not everyone feels that compromising with Republican demands is the best option for Democrats — among them, Congressman Alan Grayson. He lost his Democratic seat in Florida’s 8th District to Republican Dan Webster this week. Congressman Grayson says that the losses suffered by the Democrats are an outcome of the party’s, quote, “strategy of appeasement.” Congresman Grayson joins us on the phone right now from Florida.

    Welcome to Democracy Now! Your thoughts on your defeat this week?

    REP. ALAN GRAYSON: Well, my defeat was part of a wave across the country that had Republicans winning because Democrats didn’t vote. We have the results from the pre-election turnout; we don’t have the results from the Election Day turnout yet. In my district, when you compare that to 2008, the Republican turnout in the early voting was down by 20 percent, and the Democratic turnout in early voting was down by 60 percent. And that wasn’t true just in my district; that was true all around Florida and pretty much the whole country, except for the West Coast and New England. And as a result of that, virtually every Democrat who won in 2008 by less than ten points loss this year. There was only one exception out of twenty-four. And there were forty-four more Democrats who won by more than ten points in 2008 who managed to lose this year, because their Democratic voters didn’t turn up. It’s not a situation where Democrats — Democratic voters decided to vote Republican; it’ a situation where Democratic voters didn’t vote. And when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats can’t win.”

    Do you agree with this analysis, that bipartisan appeasement was voter suppression through depression over sell out dems? If so, how do you feel since you and your boss were NOT even remotely seen as anything but partisan Dems and uncompromising and should have been spared by the Dem voters who should have seen that? Your thoughts on the matter?

    1. Yves Smith

      Here are some other reasons Grayson might not ‘fess up to:

      1. His opponent was telegenic. Grayson, by contrast, polls badly with women, it seems to be that weird way he routinely come close to sneering when he talks. He seems to have a bit of a facial tic.

      2. The DCCC didn’t give him a dime. By contrast, all sorts of out of state money came in to support the R.

      3. The Taliban Dan ad certainly didn’t help, but that was a Hail Mary pass that backfired (the worst is that the ad really did represent his positions accurately, he’s a theocrat as far as women are concerned, but the speech they took the clip from didn’t contain a smoking gun). Grayson was already behind and it would have taken quite a lot to turn the trajectory around.

      1. Greg T

        Point 2 is particularly interesting and demonstrates how the two parties work in tandem to purge ” undesirables ” from the body politic. In a wave election like 2008, some politicians will sweep in who won’t play ball. Rep Grayson was perhaps the most visible one. He was smart, aggressive and more importantly was willing to challenge real power at the source. This of course made him a target of BOTH parties. So the DCCC withdraws funding from his campaign, and the GOP spends aggressively to defeat him. Voila! Rep. Grayson is history, courtesy of the Republican AND Democratic PArties.

      2. Paul Tioxon

        Nice try, but he was an incumbent, telegenic? well maybe you wouldn’t date him, but the other half of the electorate did not seem to have that for an issue. The DNCC does not and should not waste money on incumbents in safe elections. It is hard to imagine a FL congressman losing to the kill the social security and medicare ticking timebomb of doom assault represented by his opponent, so yr claim of abandonment by the hapless national leadership has no real explanatory power. It was the opposition with overwhelming cash, not exactly the best predictor of getting someone in office displaced without a longer assault on the image by the challenger.

        Since you responded for Matt, and he seems to be the go to politico writer here, he has made it clear that there is a direct line between policy and winning elections. That what you do when you govern makes people get up and go out and vote, because if you actually do something for yr contituents you will find yrself with supporters, votes and maybe even regular donations. Grayson may or may not admit to being lacking in the looks department, he’s no Scott “cutie pie” Brown, but then, that is not what Matt and by the screaming 400+ comments about Obama here, really want. They want and he says the electorate wants policy that means something positively affecting their lives. Well, if Grayson was not that, then the electorate is hopelessly useless, looking only for “cutie pies”. If that is the case, politics will soon be taken over by the hot weather honies and hunks of local and cable tv.

        1. Fiver

          Why would the DNC, DNCC or anyone else have thought for 1 moment that seat was safe given Grayson’s high profile, the huge financial interests he was going after, the well publicized effort from outside the State to organize against him, but most of all:

          Because of the debacle Obama and Dems had delivered in their first 2 years? Any boob could see Dems were going to be badly smacked in 2010. That’s why the Dems who went for Obama in 2008 sat on their hands – they already knew he had deliberately misrepresented himself, that is, lied, pretty much every time he opened his mouth.

          1. Greg T

            The RCCC took peculiar interest in Mr. Grayson’s seat. It spent a great deal of money in this district and, if memory serves, even Sarah Palin was dispatched to campaign for Grayson’s opponent.

            In 2010, being a D was a liability, but Grayson was basically abandoned by the DCCC. He was left to fend for himself against outside money pouring in and a fired up Tea Party contingent who turned out and turned him out of office.

      3. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Yves, you have such command of slang, the idiom, that foreigners must be excellent students of English to follow your reply. Splendid slang! And so precise.

  60. stevefraser

    But certainly you need to give the media more credit in protecting the Emperor from those who not only want to know what he “really” believes but also want to have each of his lies publicly identified.

  61. BenP

    In the Theory of Mind, when we first develop our sense of the internal experience of other beings and being “in their shoes”, predicting their behavior.. we are both learning the capacity for empathy and the ability to deceive. Politicians and economists seem strikingly prone to favor the ability to deceive other people. Idea-man, chicken-egg.

    It’s too bad we never see a genuine interview from the left. The best our consolidated media cage can offer, those PC-13 liberals on MSNBC, circumscribe all the right lines of true incitement. Same with Stewart. Colbert’s probably the most subversive, laundered in satire. That’s my sense anyway. The proverbial ‘floor of the cage’ remains the same. They never give it a real kick, because at root they’re part of the whole thing swinging.

    One extended interview with Barack Obama on Democracy Now, that’s all I ask. One interview from the left. Amy Goodman unpacking the crime and duplicity to his face, and seeing the calculated response. It could be instructive. Maybe I should start a petition. Or lay down in the fucking street.

    1. Fiver

      Obama cannot stand criticism from anyone he knows has a real mind and real reputation, and also has his number. Any real interviewer like Goodman could, if she chose, hand his skin to him.

  62. stevelaudig

    There used to be a decent argument to vote for Obama because things would “get worse more slowly than otherwise”. However, a fair counter-argument might be that Obama normalizes worse so that it will stay worse longer and prevent better from beginning. So now the argument might be that it is time to get the collapse over with which is what a Romney Presidency promises to do. If you thought W was the worst, Mittens will be More Worse More Sooner since Mitts will not have Squalid Bill’s balancing budget to squander. Romney-Apocalypse Now; Obama-Apocalypse Later.

  63. affinis

    Thanks for this. It’s entirely on target. I recognized this of Obama in early 2007. Here’s a letter I wrote to Sam Smith at Progressive Review in February 2008 (though to my discredit, I didn’t fully see through Edwards). Pretty much no-one listened when I spoke of the narcissism.

    Regarding “willingness to be tricked” – my girlfriend later told me that she chose to believe in Obama, despite partially seeing through him, because she needed a respite from her sense of discouragement/hopelessness during the Bush years – i.e. there was a degree of conscious choice involved.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      affinis, Edwards was my first choice also. How easily we are conned. The hook is false hope, the hook is the bliss of denial that we are under The Iron Heel no matter who is PuppetPrez, “appealing” to the People as: Whiteface/Blackface/Southern/Urban/Christian/Mormon/etc.

  64. Liz

    And you’ll vote for this fraudster anyway? Because heaven forbid Democrats hold anyone accountable for anything.

  65. Joseph Browning

    “The Source of Barack Obama’s Power to Trick Us Comes from Our Other Option.”

    It is better to go two steps back and one step forward than only two steps back.

  66. The Gizmo51

    Try to imagine for a moment what it would be like if the republinos take the presidency, 60 seat majority in the senate and a majority in the house. No more social security, no more medicare, vouchers for about $100 a month to cover all your health needs including prescriptions, no more teachers, police, or firefighters, in the public sector. Plenty in the private sector if you can afford to pay them. No more minimum wage, if you want a job you will work for what they tell you you will work for. My very first job while I was in high school, I started at $.90 an hour (about 1960), that will be the new minimum wage of today. The military will be on steroids bombing Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with boots on the ground in all four countries. The more you make the more you keep and the lower your federal income tax rate if they keep the IRS. They may eliminate the IRS and you must pay a federal sales tax of roughly 15% on everything you buy including food. No more welfare checks, no more unemployment checks, and no more food stamps. The only abortions performed will be in one of two places: In a private hospital with the best doctors and medical staff and equipment available for the rich with money as no object or in the back ally with a coat hanger performed by a stranger for free. This is just the tip of the iceberg, it will get worse as time goes on. The best jobs for the 99% will be limo driver, butler, maid, gardener, pool keeper, horse groomer, and auto mechanic.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Wrong. I only got to “Social Security” before I was compelled to comment.

      Obama and the Democrats are going to cut Social Security.

      We would actually be better off with the Republicans in control. This would compel the Democrats to actually fight for Social Security again.

      As it currently stands, since you Democrats give your votes away no questions asked, Obama and even Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats will be able to do what the Republicans were not able to do: cut Social Security.

      The Democrats are economic terrorists and compulsive liars.

    2. Fiver


      Nonsense. No Republican could’ve followed up on Bush and taken every important, disgusting policy stance to an even further extreme and not had millions in the streets looking for heads on platters. Obama was the perfect tool for destroying both progressives’ brand and the collection of cardboard clowns Republicans have “run” against him this time out.

  67. skippy

    Try to imagine for a moment what it would be like – not to vote at all and know you did not validate a rigged scam.

    Skippy… the least they could do is open the liqueur bribes again. That way you could blame it on a diminished state of mind.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Hah! patronage to the little people disappeared with TV. Ever since, patronage has gone to the .01% and their .99% Agency, made CERTAIN by SCOTUS decision on Citizens United, placing The Iron Heel on our necks “forever.” The recent verdict against Montana v. BIG (Montana’s law due to past experience) made CERTAIN that everybody knows “SCOTUS MEANS BUSINESS.”

        Jack London: “THE IRON HEEL.”
        Naomi Klein: “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE”

        The rule of the .01% and their .99% Agency/century never dies. It just smells that way.

  68. dbak

    Of all the times I’ve read Naked Capitalism , never have I seen such an outpouring of nasty comments of a sitting president. I didn’t vote for Obama in 2008. I thought that Hillary was a superior candidate. I have to wonder how many of the commenters are actually trolls. The way republicans win elections is by depressing the turnout which almost always works to their advantage. When I hear the talk of how by not voting is in effect a protest against Obama you are playing right into their hands.Is he the leader that you desire? Of course not, no one ever is. But if you think by throwing him out will change the the situation of the country for the better you are truly delusional.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      dbak, if you had followed NC for substantial time, you would know that the comments against Obama are not being made by trolls.

      But then, maybe you are a troll?

      The “MASQUERADE” lives on.

    2. Lambert Strether

      What do you mean, “nasty”? Hey, it’s “kill list” Tuesday! Can somebody check if I’m on the list? Because I’ve got to go food shopping Wednesday, so why not save a few bucks if I’m the next US citizen Obama gets up in the morning and decides to whack!

      * * *

      That what you mean by “nasty”?

    3. Mooo. moo!oo.

      No one’s afraid of your partisan boogiemen. We do not care about their advantage or your advantage. We do not care which corporate shill the kleptocrats install. The engineered futility of electoral politics will not excise the rot from the permanent state. Only civil society can do that, and civil society functions only outside the twin party cattle chutes.

    4. Leeskyblue

      “….never seen such an outpouring of nasty comments…”

      People have been following Obama for four or five years, now.

      Do you really follow the range of comment during that time. Granted, trashing a president is an American tradition, nothing new in that, but many of us have concluded that this is not a person with redeaming qualities.

      We might fairly ask in turn, “Are you not trying too hard to ‘normalize’ him in the face of hundreds of behaviors?” What if “sociopath” is what we actually have? Will you just refuse to acknowledge that we are relying upon someone who just doesn’t care what happens to us?

  69. Burke

    I’m a visiting conservative, and I’m not going to waste time discussing the things that we will never agree on. I do, however, want to dispute the author’s contention that the right-wing narrative is just that Obama is a Muslim, Kenyan, socialist. That’s not the principle right-wing narrative; it’s a minority narrative that the MSM has smeared all conservatives with. Most conservatives have been saying since 2007 that Obama is a con man and a narcissist–and we were called racist for doing so. (We also had serious policy disagreements — and we were called racist for having them.)

    It is a constant theme among liberals (and I know, I used to be one),that Republicans are stupid people, who are motivated solely by hate and greed. There is an article in The Atlantic, right now, admitting that if the Fast and Furious charges are true, if Holder did lie to Congress, then it is indeed a serious matter–but says that Republicans are only bringing it up because they’re hack politicians.

    Too much of what progressives say about Republicans is just hate speech. Of course there are all kinds of issues on which we will never agree, but when your starting point is “the other side has no real issues, they’re just mean and ugly idiots”–you are dehumanizing your opponents without ever understanding what they’re saying. Progressive sneers at Evangelicals and people from the South and Heartland are no different from any other religious and racial bigotry. (I, by the way, am from the liberal Northeast).

    1. proximity1

      I’m sure you mean “the principal Right-wing narrative”, but, speaking of principles, I ask:

      Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? In 2004? Both?

      And, if you oppose Obama because he was then and is still a con-man and a narcissist, please tell me: do you support Romney’s candidacy? And, did you find that you could, in 2008 vote in good conscience for the McCain/Palin ticket?

      I agree that Obama is a truly miserable president. We were, all the same, offered a truly miserable choice in the two major parties—and our propagandist mass-media jealousy guard their prime places as the vettors of who constitute “serious candidates”.

      As long as this is the case, all other argument boils down to quibbling over how many rounds should be put into the chambers before spinning them, putting the barrel to our head and pulling the trigger to learn “the results of the latest round of electoral politics.”

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        proximity 1 – we’re like the last of the “drafted” schmucks in “Apocalypse Now.”

      2. Burke

        Somehow, I missed your comment before. I’ve been voting a straight Republican ticket for years, usually because they’re the least bad of the available choices. I didn’t vote for Romney in the primaries, but will certainly do so this November. I would agree that he’s been something of a weathervane in the past, and may be so again, but I feel certain of several important things: he will not strip our defenses, spit in the faces of our allies, and kiss up to our enemies. He is truly talented as an executive, and can think quickly in an emergency. He may expand the federal bureaucracy and overspend (I hope not), and I might not like his appointments to SCOTUS (though they’d be better than Obama’s). He might be as cosy with Wall Street as Obama is, but I think there’s also an interesting chance that he’ll bring them into line. Sometimes former insiders make good reformers.

    2. Lambert Strether


      Got any links on the 2007 material? The Obama campaign deployed the racist smear against everyone who wasn’t waving the pom poms, it seems.

      And yes, “strategic hate management” is a tool of both legacy parties. The Democrats have a network of career “progressives” that is every bit as noxious as the Republican network of career “conservatives,” though not nearly so well funded as Heritage, AE, etc. Since they’re all neo-liberals of various shades, it’s not surprising they’re noxious.

      1. Burke

        I disagree–it’s not nearly as pervasive on the right as on the left. I grew up on the NYTimes, and read it regularly from the early ’60s until about 2001,when Pinch Sulzberger took over–and I never, ever, came across anything suggesting that conservatives had any substantive argument.

        In contrast, if you read thoughtful conservatives, they will at least acknowledge that there are liberals who are thoughtful individuals, even if they are hopelessly misguided. Conservatives typically believe that despite all the nice talk about justice and equality, highly centralized government inevitable leads to elitism, economic stagnation and loss of freedom. We don’t, however, go around saying that rank and file progressives think the way they do because they actually WANT economic stagnation and tyranny. We just think they’re undereducated.

        And please stop the whining about Heritage and AEI having so much funding.
        They don’t get nearly what the left does from George Soros, Tides Foundation, etc.–to say nothing of the assistance and backing of most of the major media.

        1. silly 3rd-world yanks

          You have this raging emotional need to be a martyr of some pitched spiritual battle but, sad to say, we are indifferent to you. You have nothing to say about pervasive corruption or impunity. No inkling of structural factors. You live for the partisan divide-and-rule that keeps you helpless. Democrats do, too. You’re like a Hutu in Rwanda, and we are like ECOMOG watching you regress to pathetic barbarism with your designated enemies.

        2. Walter Wit Man

          It’s because the right doesn’t have substantive arguments.

          Look, I agree with Lambert above–you’re right that the Democrats have demonized Republicans. But the two parties are pretty much equal in their tribal demonization.

          But I’m serious about the Republicans lacking substantive policy agenda. They have been arguing the same simple policy for about 30 years: neoliberal capitalism. They right has been the true religious preachers of our neoiberal economic system. Of course the Democrats have supported this too. But the Democrats get to issue critiques of the system. Of course the Democrats are just pretending and don’t want to really regulate our capitalist system to help the little people. But, it’s the left side of the spectrum where we are getting policy ideas that may actually ameliorate the cancer of capitalism.

          Of course these are never enacted though and are simply dangled in front of the people as bait.

          And the Republicans do stumble across good policy goals on occasion . . . . like ending the Fed, or going after Obama for Fast and Furious or his civil liberty violations, or his corruption. But these Republican policies are not ideological as much as they are political. It more of a means for Republicans to bring down Democrats than it is a fidelity to the issues.

          Anyway. A pox on both houses.

        3. Walter Wit Man

          Heritage and AEI have pretty much the same agenda as Soros.

          They are all neoliberal finks.

          You’re just falling for the public spectacle. The fake wrestling contest.

          After the match is over they share beers together and laugh at the naivete of their paying public.

          1. Burke

            Obviously, you and I draw the line between right and left at different places. So, while I certainly agree that one can be very far to the left of the NYTimes, I can also assure you that they haven’t a drop of conservatism in their makeup. To favor a world where the government and big corporate interests control everyone else is not conservative–(small government, free markets).

        4. Walter Wit Man

          And I can’t stand the New York Times because it’s a right-wing fascist rag.

          It’s ridiculous that you try to use the New York Times as an example of leftist thought.

          The New York Times main role is to lay down narratives like the one you picked up. It is constantly legitimizing our system and it does this in subtle ways:

          1. It probably does demean conservatives in its tone, but they do it so they can prop up the “liberal”, which is usually some right-winger in disguise as a liberal, like Geithner or Obama.

          2. It legitimizes the horse race and petty politics by covering it for the ruling classes. In other words, it distances itself from the gutter politics by making fun of the Tea Party peoples’ behavior at Obamacare public forums, but by providing nonstop coverage of things like this the New York Times puts a big huge magnifying glass on these tribal politics and sucks everyone in. The media like the New York Times created the “debt crisis” last year.

          3. Outright propaganda. The New York Times supports a fascist foreign policy. It supports empire and endless war and war crimes and destructive neoliberal capitalism for the world. It actively takes part in this propaganda by placing stories, like its stories on Syria by Tyler Hicks and his terrorist pals.

          Anyway, I too gave up the New York Times about the time you did. I should have done it years ago though. I too thought I was super smart for reading the New York Times front to back. You’re right to single it out for its nefarious influence on liberals.

          Btw, reading the New York Times 100 years ago is really helpful:

          You can even see the capitalist bias back then.

        5. Lambert Strether

          Re: “Whining.” I don’t waste my time engaging with commenters who deploy the infantilization trope, since it’s generally a tell for trollspeak. So I’ll cut this off here. Sorry!

      2. Burke

        I was referring to the rest of the comment. As for Nixon’s Southern Strategy–it was 40 years ago— and Nixon resigned in disgrace. The GOP has not been Nixon’s party for a long time. Here we are, in 2012, and the 9 of the ten most segregated cities are in the North. The most segregated school systems are in the North. There are two generations of Southerners who have attended integrated schools and never lived under Jim Crow.

    3. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The principal right-wing narrative is in “dog whistle” according to the Southern Strategy of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as PuppetPrez, each according to the .01% and their .99% Agency du jour.

          1. Burke

            You’re just proving my point. I assume that somewhere, there are still progressives who know the difference between substantive argument and name calling, but you two are clearly not among them. (I include silly 3rd world yank).

        1. Fiver


          You said, speaking of Romney:

          “I would agree that he’s been something of a weathervane in the past, and may be so again, but I feel certain of several important things: he will not strip our defenses, spit in the faces of our allies, and kiss up to our enemies.”

          Feel free to explain:

          1) How a $trillion a year minimum on “security” all told is not an insane degree of overkill given the US is as powerful at least as all other nations on earth combined.

          2) Which allies are being “spit on” and which enemies “kissed up to”.

  70. Jerome Armstrong

    It’s a bizarre world where I find Matt Stoller being right on; and go and look at who you’ll find taking him on for the Democrats– former republican John cole and the BJ’s. Look, the guys at dkos know Stoller is right, really (at least the ones running the site), but it gives you a sense of where we have arrived when it’s a former Bushie that stands online for the bots defense, and claims to speak for the Democratic establishment. I mean, WTF.

    1. CB

      If “the guys at dkos… running the site” know Stoller is right, they’re putting on an award worthy performance. I would swear they’re on the team. Put them in for a CLIO.

  71. DWoolley

    Mr. Stoller:

    I commend your bravery in the writing of this article. Truth can be painful. Our President is George Orwell’s “doublethink” personified. Notwithstanding everyone’s individual votes, collectively as Americans, we made our choice, we have lived with our choice, the mistake is our own.

    Thank you Mr. Stoller for a dose of boldfaced truth, it hurts.


  72. Red Rocks Rockin

    There’s a lot of 888 in this post that completely avoids the truth of the matter: the people complaining about Obama on here got exactly what they wanted.

    You, Matt Stoller (and the other lamenters here), voted for the empty suit. That’s what you wanted. You didn’t want a man (or woman) already measured. You wanted someone you could project all your hopes and dreams on to. You willingly participated in the media’s “rock star” narrative about Obama, despite the fact that he possessed nothing in his record that would indicate his capacity to lead.

    But you didn’t give a crap about that. Obama looked and sounded good. He told you what you wanted to hear. He stroked your ego. And now that we have nearly a full term of Obama demonstrating his defects of character, you’re professing shock. Be honest, what exactly did you expect?

    Because it wasn’t about Obama, it was all about YOU. You didn’t look for someone with character and conviction, you wanted someone you could give yourself a big fat hug for supporting–“I VOTED FOR THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT!!” And if Obama has screwed it all up, it’s in no small part because you and his supporters screwed it all up, too.

    You got what you wanted. And that’s not Barack Obama’s fault, it’s yours.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Who’s “you”? Not me! Obama conned a lot of people, too. It’s what he does.

      My feelings are (a) 2016 is more important than 2012*, but 2012 can be used to prepare for 2016, and therefore (b) using DeLong’s “class of” formulation for honorable conservatives, it’s possible to be from the Class of 2012 on Obama — that is, breaking with him — and still be an honorable progressive/left/Democrat.

      However, the Class of 2013 can’t possibly be honorable, since at this point everybody who’s paying attention knows what Obama is. So any planning/thinking/organizing over 2016 needs to eliminate the Class of 2013 upward from participation, at least in the activist/organizing/content creation class.

      (I’m from the Class of 2008 on Democrats (FISA). There are some from the Class of 199? (NAFTA). Deprogramming takes awhile, and there’s no support structure for it.)

      Oh, also, using the “character and conviction” frame means that we can’t look at systemic issues. And it also leads straight to “the man on a white horse” solution: The leader who, because of his sterling personal characteristics, will “clean up the mess.” We know how that movie ends. Principals not personalities!

      NOTE * Assuming we don’t have a “government of national unity” to “end partisanship” and “address the current crisis” (whichever crisis has been ginned up) before that point, of course.

      1. CB

        Thanks, Lambert. I was going to reply but I didn’t want to get into a tangle over “character and conviction” definitions. Depending on perspective, and character and conviction, one can have loads of character and conviction and be monstrously evil. IMO.

        For reasons I can’t identify, the image that’s coming to mind is Toddy telling Victoria, “And give it tons of shoulder.” Now there’s character! And conviction!

    2. Fiver

      Too harsh on decent white voters who were perhaps less informed than they should’ve been, but nonetheless were genuinely hopeful that Obama would advance the public interest(please note I do not put myself in that group – I had him pegged).

      I’ve found that once you demonstrate he’s a plain and simple murderer, they come around right away.

  73. OxyCon

    Turn the clock back to 2008 and I was telling you all that Obama was a fraud and guess what you all were calling me?


    You’re all a bunch of slow learners. I looked into the man’s background and soon discovered that his main talent was his ability to extract something of benefit to himself by cleverly telling his willing dupe exactly what they wanted to hear, which is how he climbed the ladder and got where he is. He’s a charmer. The only time you get a glimpse of his true self is when he is unscripted, which is extremely rare.

    1. CB

      Hey, I did the backgrounding and saw the same thing. But the alternative was even less appealing, or more repellent, whichever suits, and I voted for Obama figuring he’d be what he had been: status quo with a little decorative stitching around the edges. Oh, boy, was I wrong. I simply didn’t account for the scope the presidency gives to unfettered egomania. In an already established “egotistical egomaniac,” to quote Anne Applebaum. In fairness, Anne was describing all candidates at that level. I would say all candidates at any level.

      And that experience finally rid me of the lesser evil fallacy. Evil is evil. At that level, ordinary citizens can’t exercise any control over the practitioners. At the municipal level, depending on the size of the municipality, ordinary citizens might. Even county office holders can be extremely difficult to get to, never mind state and federal. My maxim is Don’t Reward Evil. I misjudged Obama the first time, not the second.

      1. Purp (@PurpAv)

        Whenever you think it can’t possibly get worse, you’re wrong. ALWAYS.

        Whenever you think some politician is heaven sent, you’re wrong. ALWAYS.

        I have no illusions about this election. The moves needed to salvage the Republic from a Soviet Union style economic collapse in the next decade need to be executed in a timley manner and executed perfectly. Neither of these men is up to that task. Probably nobody alive today is up to it, and the US congress won’t even admit a problem exists.

    2. Leeskyblue

      Don’t crow, I didn’t vote for him either, but we ain’t all that smart.
      Give others who did vote for him a break. Many did not want the Clintons for good reason, Edwards had so little substance, all of that leveled the playing field a little, and by the time it became transparent what he was, he pretty well had the election steamrolled with nothing for many brighter sorts to do but ironically “hope” as the wave washed in.

      1. Purp (@PurpAv)

        It has nothing to do with intelligence. Some very smart people voted for the zero, and continue to support him stridently. Smart people are often easier to dupe than dumb people.

  74. S Brennan

    Here’s the deal:

    Obama wins:

    Obama will focus like a laser beam on the last standing achievement of FDR, Social Security he’ll bag it and call it a day on social issues.

    Obama will run out the clock on Bush/Obama criminal prosecutions.

    Obama will nominate 2 more pro-financial sector Judges for El Supremo Court who can’t be easily identified as right wing extremists [RWE]. After some Kabuki, they get the nod [Republicans prefer their RWE’s to be out in the open].

    Obama will continue/start NSA type wars in Africa/Middle East similar to Libya and Syria.

    Obama will continue his very slow draw down of deployed troops in foreign occupation.

    Obama will be in office for 4 years and no more, then a person from the opposite party will be elected.


    Romney wins:

    Romney will accelerate draw down of deployed troops in foreign occupation [less taxes and Mormons don’t like war in general].

    Romney will work on the economy…spending money on long term projects…making sure Mormans get their cut.

    Romney will continue Obama’s stealth war on Social Security by lowering payroll taxes further, leaving the job of final destruction of SSI to a Democrat.

    Romney will push for lower taxes on the rich, After some Kabuki, the minimal number of Democrats will go along after getting their clients further breaks.

    Romney will nominate 2 more pro-financial sector Judges for El Supremo Court who can be easily identified as right wing extremists [RWE]. After some Kabuki, they get the nod from the minimal number of Democrats [Democrats encourage RWE’s during Republican Administrations as punishment/reward for/not electing Democrats]*.

    Romney will not continue/start wars in Africa/Middle East similar to Libya and Syria [less taxes and Mormons don’t like war in general].

    Romney will be in office for 4 years and no more, then a person from the opposite party will be elected.


    *Clue in folks, Democrats leaders already gave control of the Supreme Court to Republican RWE’s.

  75. LAS

    I’ll give Obama a little credit. Who else could form a large enough consensus voting block comprised of persons from an individualist type culture except a person who fooled us into thinking we had heard what we wanted to hear?

    NO ONE runs on an explicit platform anymore. NO ONE promises anything to the middle American. Someone or something powerful would be alienated. There is no platform or promise. You never heard one.

    Truly, all you have heard and will hear is survey tested hot air. But it has been survey tested among people like you.

    What would be nice (and unlikely) is a group of citizens who get Obama on camera to promise something, anything. Can’t imagine it happening though.

  76. stripes

    I had fraudclosure court today..The bank is trying to strike my defenses. I told the Judge, there is no legal assignment. The Judge asked me why do they need a legal assignment…? I told him there is nothing in the contract that says they don’t have to follow securities laws. To that he rolled his eyes and told me to re-enter my defenses. He asked me why don’t I have an attorney. I replied…….Because I can’t find one that will fight this fraud for me. To that, he said nothing. To that I say…. Property Law is power.

    1. CB

      Hey, we’re all so busy blasting away at Hopey Changey we walked right past one of his victims. I’m sorry to hear you’re caught up in the foreclosure mess and I hope everything ends well for you.

      1. stripes

        Thank You for the very kind words CB…! They are very much appreciated.

        Hi Lenova…Yes, it is true, Cook County, Illinois has been revealed to be the most corrupt County in the Country. The proof is no attorneys will fight mortgage fraud in this State. The rule of law is the rule of law for all. The trick is knowing what the laws are that protect you. Then they can’t screw you. That is why they have the attorney’s on lock down. Property Law is power….so are the laws that govern securities. This madness has forced many of us to educate ourselves about a lot of stuff that we never knew. Really important stuff. That’s not a bad thing. The more that you know, the harder it is for them to screw you. We needed a wake up call, and this is it.

  77. Joe

    Heard from a reliable source – classmate of the President at Harvard Law School….the President was the basketball player who always called the cheap fouls in pick-up games. Window into his character and it’s not good.

  78. Tim

    What the author is telling you is that you are all dupes. Dim-witted dupes looking for the Kool Aid. Especially those of you in the MSM.

  79. Leeskyblue

    Matt Stoler used the sociopath word.
    I don’t like such terms, usually. I have called the man cold-blooded, perhaps the most cold-blooded man to ever occupy the White House. I believe his speeches are completely calculating for effect. He is a very self-contained con-man as Matt Stoler noted. The only flashes of genuine comment are those occasional asides Stoler mentioned.
    He seems to feel nothing, not for his race, his country, or its traditions, for law or the Constitution, this Constitutional law professor.
    It does make one’s choice easier, every time one hears a Romney comment accompanied by Romney’s plastic smile. Romney, a schmuck who wants to be president, doesn’t have the evil intelligence of Obama. He isn’t as dangerous.
    However, much better we spend our time and money on a few good Democrats (not the DCCC)and a few organizations not tied down by Obama’s control of the party. See if we can buil a third force.

    1. Fiver

      I’m inclined to agree that Obama is more dangerous than Romney – he is as enamored, macro-to-micro, of power, as he is smart. Only someone really quite sick says:

      “Here. Give me that file. I will decide who to murder today. I am the President and I am responsible.”

      rather than:

      “There will be no more of this insanity (the drone/assassination terror war on Islam) on my watch, and any breach of this policy will be met with the most severe of legal consequences.”

    2. Purp (@PurpAv)

      Obama’s narcissism is of such a virulent and extreme strain that sociopath is a technically correct description. He doesn’t appear to be a serial killer type or anything like that, but the lack of empathy is what makes him a sociopath (and is one of the textbook characteristics of a narcissistic personality type)

    3. proximity1


      …”I believe his (Obama’s) speeches are completely calculating for effect. He is a very self-contained con-man as Matt Stoler noted. The only flashes of genuine comment are those occasional asides Stoler mentioned.
      He seems to feel nothing, not for his race, his country, or its traditions, for law or the Constitution, this Constitutional law professor.

      “It does make one’s choice easier, every time one hears a Romney comment accompanied by Romney’s plastic smile. Romney, a schmuck who wants to be president, doesn’t have the evil intelligence of Obama. He isn’t as dangerous.
      However, much better we spend our time and money on a few good Democrats (not the DCCC)and a few organizations not tied down by Obama’s control of the party. See if we can build a third force.”

      “Romney, a schmuck who wants to be president, doesn’t have the evil intelligence of Obama. He isn’t as dangerous.”

      That is pure nonsense. Romney is every bit as dangerous as Obama and for the very same reasons.

      Measuring, comparing, one candidate’s danger to the public versus another’s (when the pertinent issue is that our political system is now a complete and flagrant failure as far as being a means of seeing the general interests of ordinary people put into effect is concerned) is simply ridiculous.

      Of course Romney is just as bad as Obama and certainly not (just) “a schmuck who wants to be president,” and who “doesn’t have the evil intelligence of Obama,” who “isn’t as dangerous.”

      That’s not the point.

      Nor is it that Obama’s ‘intelligence’ is ‘evil’–rather, it’s that, exactly like Romney or any other person would be, if elected by this money-corrupted system, Obama lives in complete conviction that he’s earnestly trying to do, against all winds and tides and popular resentment, “what’s best for the country.” He is not capable of doubting his own genuineness, his own inner sincerity. In that, Romney is and would be, as president, no different. Nor would, of course, Hillary Clinton.

      This complete belief in his own desire to do what’s best for the nation is precisely what made him convincing during the campaign last time. And, the public, too, willingly joined him in that act of self-delusion.

      It may be that it is simply impossible to carry out the jobs required of the President of the U.S. without the art of self-deception, the ability to remain convinced that one is sincerely trying to do the best things for the nation. In any case, we should not doubt that this is what Obama believes without a doubt. But every president, no matter how terrible, believes that. Nixon believed it even as he withdrew into a bunker-mentality, trying to stave off his impeachment and removal from office.

      This interesting thread is about how people engage in self-deception. That is a very important feature of human nature–and the central topic of Robert Trivers’ fascinating book, The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deceit in Human Life.[ New York, NY : Basic Books, copyright 2011; xvi, 397 p. ; 24 cm.
      ISBN: 9780465027552 (alk. paper) )
      ( ]

      What Obama shows us, and what Trivers explains to us, is that this self-deception, certainly a factor from our eons-long-developed evolution, what this means in practical effect.

      from the book’s front cover fold,

      “At the core of our mental lives is a contradiction. Although our senses have evolved to give us an exquisitely detailed perception of the outside world, as soon as that information hits our brains, it often becomes biased and distorted, usually without conscious effect (my own emphasis added). Why should this be so? Wouldn’t natural selection act to prevent that distortion? Would self-deception–the failure to see the world as it is–provide a roadmap to personal failure?

      “Put differently, why does self-deception succeed?

      “In The Folly of Fools, leading evolutionary theorist Robert Trivers argues that in order to deceive (whether it’s done consciously or unconsciously) others, we often deceive ourselves first. To lie to others, hide our intent to deceive and the details of our deception (hide these from ourselves); we selectively recall information and bias our arguments. But deception is more than just a verbal game. Trivers marshals evidence–spanning everything from immunology to neuroscience to group dynamics to the relationships of parents and children–of an arms race between deceiver and deceived at every level of biological complexity. The urge to deceive ourselves and others is not without risk, however, and as Trivers convincingly shows, this urge has had, and continues to have, negative effects, undermining everything from academic endeavors and air safety to economic markets and international relations.

      “The culmination of four decades of research, The Folly of Fools is a testament to the power of evolutionary analysis to unravel the riddles of human life.”

      In none of the foregoing do I intend to imply or suggest that just because self-deception is rampant and that it operates without any awareness of its influences that we can or should leave it unremarked and accept it and the harms it produces without objection.

      On the contrary, if there is to be any hope of countering the pernicious effects of self-deception, we have to be aware of its character, how it works on all of us, and, most of all, we have to understand that it is only through the observations of others that we’re going to be alerted to our own inner self-deceptions at work.

      The phrases, “You’re kidding yourself!” and “Who do you think you’re fooling?” take on fuller meaning with the information that Trivers supplies us in this book.

      So, too, do we come to recognize important essentials about the force and uses of religious convictions, of how cult-beliefs operate and how people practiced in the art of confidence-games win over through self-deception a “mark’s” confidence.

      Political and economic life is rich in mythological beliefs. This is no less true of our so-called highly-advanced technological society than it is of any still-extant hunter-gatherer forest-dwelling tribe.

      Great portions of our social, political and economic institutions were developed by and through the primeaval evolutionary impulses to create some sense in a world that is otherwise chaotic and bewildering to us and they continue to operate in us in exactly the same symbol-myth ways that are found in what we view as the most primitve people.

      There are, of course, tricksters, con-men and women who know and deliberately use arts of deception and self-deception in a thoroughly calculated way, designed to dupe others and take advantage of them. There is no doubt that this goes on all the time.

      But even more common is the ‘innocently-held’ operation of deception and self-deception. We don’t have to wait for a con-man to arrive. We are always ready for our mental equipment to smooth over the incongruencies of reality, to provide us a meaningful (and self-serving) rationale where without it we’d feel angst, insecurity.

      Deceptions and self-deceptions serve the ends of “confidence”, “emotional-stability,” orderliness, and rational workings in nature, which rarely does anything for any rational purpose or reason.

      That means, in short, that by necessity, society, its political and economic and religious structures are built upon foundations of deception and self-deception from sources that are so primitive as to be pre-human in the strict sense of the term.

      We need to constantly remind ourselves and each other of the inherent risks in such a mental life. We cannot completely escape from the given features of the brain’s re-ordering sense perceptions to “fit” into a partly deceptive image of the world within us and outside us, but we can if we choose, try to constantly suject those processes to inspection, to introspection and we can try to find and favor candidates who demonstrate that they possess some ability in this regard–that they can accomplish something of a “perspective on their own arts of self-deception” so that they and we are not so terribly led down the garden path of easy acceptance of the seemingly obvious.

      1. enouf

        [This is a test — because i wrote a great reply, which somehow never appeared after i submitted it]

        1. enouf

          Ok, ….works again;

          This one will be (much) shorter than original;



          Henry Grayson — “The New Physics of Love: the Power of Mind and Spirit in Relationships”; — Session 9: ‘Making the Perceptual Shift’


        2. enouf

          seems there’s some sort of spam-filter in place (auto-blacklisting) certain URLs/Sites posted here; happened once before to me here too.

          I had to cut below info just for last above Henry Grayson post to go through;

          ————- this IS ONLY PART OF WHAT was cut ————-

          HINT — here’s the URL for aforementioned Session 9 above;
          http://archive.k p f k .org/mp3/k p f k_120619_000055somethingshappeningA.MP3

          (remove whitespace in url)

          ————— end cut ——————


          1. enouf

            I suppose site-management doesn’t like KPFK in Los Angeles ..
            let’s try adding the other one i wanted to add now..

            ———– this is the REST OF INITIAL cut ———–

            For more, visit (to purchase CDs/DVDs)


  80. Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste

    Do you really expect me to believe that, had a 9/11 style attack not been prevented on his watch, that President Gore would have rushed off to invade Iraq?

    Thanks a lot, Ralph. Seriously.

  81. LOL

    I literally laughed out loud at this comment on another site

    Modern American Currency.

    One dollar bill: George Washington.

    Five dollar bill: Abraham Lincoln.

    Ten dollar bill: Alexander Hamilton.

    Twenty dollar bill: Andrew Jackson.

    Fifty dollar bill: Ulysses S. Grant

    One hundred dollar bill: Benjamin Franklin.

    Food Stamps: Barack Obama.

  82. Fiver

    I actually read the great bulk of comments over a span of 3 days. Last time for this cycle.

    Obama for another 4 has been baked in from the start. He and his rancid crew have indeed done a masterful job not only of preserving the financial/corporate status quo, but substantially advancing the position of US-based global corporations (financial and otherwise) vs their chief competitors, which will be increasingly obvious over the next couple of years. That this involved allowing “markets” to savage the EZ is to him just another “tough” decision in a President’s day, squeezed in between reviewing files for future murders.

    Reagan or Carter would’ve found Obama’s version of “President” to be the work of some sort of alien life form. Not today. Technology has given us instant justice. Obama may be a supreme creep, but it’s not as if there aren’t scores of thousands at least just like him to have created something so obscene as the Drone program, for instance, to place in the hands of a sociopath to begin with.

    Obama does care about his reputation, though. He REALLY cares. Not with the public, but with what he regards as his peers, and with “history” in terms of that reputation. He knows he’s delivered squat so far, and will (with the full blessing of the engaged 1%) throw around some real money next year latest, and before should Europe require it – don’t think so this year but Fed and IMF will hit the spend button as fast as ECB if “markets” demand higher ransom.

  83. Burn the Witch

    It never ceases to amaze me how liberals/leftists seem fail to grasp what “socialism” is. One would think that these people who pride themselves on understanding and identifying ‘nuance’ would be able to recognize their chief political aim when it exists so clearly.

    The subject of this article can write about marxists and socialists being his biggest influences during his intellectually formative years in his autobiography, but that apparently doesn’t count. The man can associate with radical leftists/socialists his entire career, but that doesn’t count. The man can escalate class warfare, but that apparently exists in a vacuum.

    The government can nationalize great swaths of the banking industry, but that’s not socialism. The government can nationalize two thirds of domestic auto production, but that’s not control of the means of production. The government can institute a progressive income tax system that clearly and demonstrably redistributes wealth, but that’s not socialism.

    The entrenched socialism in this country is such a part of our consciousness that leftists would only seem to acknowledge it if any entity said “US Government Motors, Bank, Hospital, etc”. Capitalism hasn’t killed this country, it has succeeded in spite of it. How much longer it can succeed is what’s in question.

    Why is it that socialism is such a pejorative to the left?

  84. proximity1

    Oabama neither knows nor gives a damn about Marx, his writings, or the thinkers that followed in his vein. The publicly-published list of his acknowledged reading since taking office is the reading of a very mediocre mind. At the same time, even if he’d been steeped in Marxist theory, that would, by itself, amount to nothing against what President Obama has actually done since taking office.

    Say what you will about his so-called intellectually-formative sources, his actions as president demonstrate that whatever time and attention he might have once given to such political thought, when things come down to cases and practical politics, Obama may as well have never heard of the terms “liberal” or “Left-wing”.

    Barack Obama is a pure and as complete a creature of the prevalent system of privileged wealth as can be imagined having come from his personal home background. From sometime in his late adolescence, early adulthood, he threw over whatever he had of that and devoted himself, heart and soul to being the epitome of proper society’s idea of a well-behaved and right-thinking servant of the interests of the upper classes, which he took to heart as his own value system.

    You’re dreaming if you think Obama or his administration ever nationalized a bank for other than immediate and extremely short-term purposes. Instead, he threw billions of dollars at them unconditionally–as had G.W. Bush before him.

    If Barack Obama is a socialist, or even sympathetic to socialism, then I guess Chancellor Merkel is a socialist, and P.T. Barnum and J.R. Ewing, too.

    Look, Obama has had nearly a term in office as president. He’s now seeking a renewal of his contract–asking the American people to re-elect him. On my view of his open record, he’s a flagrant failure and doesn’t deserve being re-hired for the job.

    That Mitt Romney is as bad is not a “point in Obama’s “favor”, it’s a damning indictment of our utterly corrupted and destructive political system–a system which Obama has done nothing to either explain, expose or oppose.

    Your talk of socialist bona fides on the part of Obama is sheer nonsense.

  85. Nathan

    Does anyone else remember the “I keep it cool” parody of Obama on SNL? — seems like they got it right, and at least consistent with the piece here.

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