Obama Blames Shutdown on Lobbyists, Bloggers, “Talking Heads” and “Professional Activists”

You cannot make this stuff up.

Obama gave his usual adult talking to the children, meaning American citizens, type of speech to mark the cease-fire in the budget battle so that the two sides can work out a peace accord. Of course, it goes without saying that both sides keenly want a pact that will inflict cuts on middle and low-income Americans while only imposing at most token costs on the wealthy, and in particular, secure the prize that the leadership of both parties keenly desire, namely, cuts in Medicare and Social Security, dressed up as “reforms”.

These speeches are unpleasant to read because the blarney is so thick it could be packaged and sold as an industrial lubricant. But underneath the greasy veneer is the message that the Important People in the Beltway, meaning Obama, Democrats, and “responsible Republicans” in Congress must dedicate themselves to the pursuit of prosperity…of the 1%. Admittedly he does throw a bouquet to the need for “creating more good jobs that pay better wages” But in July, Obama commemorated the opening of an Amazon fulfillment center as an example of a “better bargain” for “middle class jobs.” Given that Amazon warehouse “associates” average $11.90 an hour and this warehouse was in a lower-wage area than most of its current facilities, it’s clear that the “better bargain” was from the Amazon perspective, not that of its workers.

One of the unintended bits of irony is that near the top of his lecture, Obama starts on a litany of costs of the shutdown is less dire than the consequences of his decision to protect the banks rather than rescue ordinary Americans:

We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on. We know that potential homebuyers have gotten fewer mortgages, and small business loans have been put on hold. We know that consumers have cut back on spending…

Contrast that with the millions who lost their homes to foreclosure, including the ones who were used to foam the runway for banks in HAMP mods (many were told falsely to default in order to be considered, put through “the dog ate your paperwork” chicanery by banks, and told repeatedly they were on track for a permanent mod only to lose their home), or the new college grads who are un or under-employed, and many with heavy student debt loads. Obama would have you believe the crappy state of the economy pre-shutdown was something to be proud of.

Obama pointedly avoids rubbing salt into the wounds of the Tea Party or the Republicans generally. He sticks with bromides:

Now, there’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown. But let’s be clear: There are no winners here….And, of course, we know that the American people’s frustration with what goes on in this town has never been higher. That’s not a surprise that the American people are completely fed up with Washington. At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we’ve got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back. And for what?

But Obama is clear who the bad actors have been:

But to all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change. Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people — and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust. Our system of self-government doesn’t function without it. And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That’s why we’re here. That should be our focus.

Now does anyone seriously think lobbyists were major players in the shutdown? By all accounts, it was constituents of Tea Party members, and not professional hired guns, who were egging them on. And as for the rest of the bad guys on his list, he’s just thrown big segments of the Democratic Party apparatus under the bus. “Professional activists who profit from conflict”? Let’s see, for starters, how about Daily Kos and Move On? Now that Emily’s List has started sending me e-mails and refuses to remove me from their list, I get almost daily missives that are loaded for bear. This was dated the 16th:

Now it’s time to do more. Way, way more. Because if you’re like me, you’ve been watching this shutdown and budget fight in total dismay. Now that it looks like we’ve resolved it — at least for a few months — I’m ready to fight…..

Contribute now. It’s time to put a permanent stop to the reckless anti-woman Republican Party — but our women can only lead the charge to win back the House if we give them everything we’ve got today and every day.

Right now might be the only chance we get to put this big of a dent in the Republican House majority. Don’t hesitate. Step up today.

But actually, maybe we should talk about lobbyists. How about the Democratic ne plus ultra, the Center for American Progress? As we wrote in 2011:

CAP is THE mainstream Democratic think tank for Congress and the administration. Its CEO, John Podesta, ran the transition for Obama and was Clinton’s chief of staff from 1999 to 2001, so he is the embodiment of Rubinite/mainstream (meaning corporatist) Democratic party thinking. His brother is an enormously powerful corporate lobbyist, and I’ve heard his brother also apparently collects and ostentatiously displays pornographically-themed art (a tactic to impress/intimidate clients; ironically, anyone who has done time on Wall Street has seen worse and at closer range too).

That this kind of low-income-advocate/bank-friendly throwback would come from CAP isn’t entirely surprising, since the Administration has made the pet wishes of the financial services industry one of its top priorities, and the CAP generally provides cover for Team Obama initiatives.

Oh and as for bloggers, Susie Madrak has had a few words about how the Administration’s two-faced stance towards them. This is how she described it on her blog in 2010:

Basically, after Axelrod told us how wonderful we were and how much they needed us to close the enthusiasm gap in this election, I called him on it. Like, yo Dave, here we are, liberal activists who give money and GOTV, and the White House needs to punch us in public so no one thinks they take us seriously?

The actual exchange was more colorful. From the Washington Post:

Top Obama adviser David Axelrod got an earful of the liberal blogosphere’s anger at the White House moments ago, when a blogger on a conference call directly called out Axelrod over White House criticism of the left, accusing the administration of “hippie punching.”

“We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day,” the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for liberal bloggers and progressive media.

The call seemed to perfectly capture the tense dynamic that exists between the White House and the online and organized left: Though White House advisers in the past have dumped on the left, anonymously and even on the record, Axelrod repeatedly pleaded with the bloggers on the call for help in pumping up the flagging enthusiasm of rank and file Dems.

Don’t worry, we aren’t one of those bloggers.

And finally, we have “talking heads on the radio”. That’s a strained locution, since “talking head” specifically means a disembodied head on a TV screen, and so excludes radio. So Obama must have been trying to exempt his best buddies at MSNBC but get a jab in at Rush Limbaugh and other right wing talk radio hosts.

So we have the pretense that Obama and Congressional leaders can and do operate like benign technocratic authoritarians wise leaders except when those annoying extreme mouthpieces manage to addle their brains and push them around. But pray tell, how could mere lobbyists, bloggers, activists, and talking heads be worth listening unless they were articulating (and in many cases, seeking to influence) the view of significant swathes of the American public? Parse the Obama jibe. His named targets aren’t heavy hitters; the most serious ones, lobbyists, derive their power from their clients. These groups represent a problem because Obama has long believed that the solution to any problem is better propaganda. But he is so obsessed with loyalty and control that parties who have the independence they need to be credible aren’t as subordinate to him as he’d like (witness how lapdog MSNBC has taken a ratings hit). So this weird put-down looks like him directing the annoyance he can’t express directly towards the real objects of his anger, the feral House Republicans, towards a long-standing annoyance of his, the insufficiently servile messaging machinery.

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  1. Schofield

    Western economies are being mismanaged because of the engagement in a Fallacy of Composition War with three parties active in this war to a greater or lesser extent, the Austerians dominated by the Banksters, the Bastard Keynesians partially dominated by the Banksters and the MMTers not dominated by the Banksters. Meanwhile the economy of China dominated by their Communist Party MMTers is not engaged in such a war and forges ahead soon to outstrip the US GDP and eventually will become the world’s dominant military power.

    1. Massinissa

      China the dominant military power? I know for sure they dont have a Navy a fraction as powerful as ours. Pretty sure they dont have an air force that can light a candle to ours either. Their land forces are probably almost as good, but but you cant be a dominant military power with just that.

      As long as we can continue looting our own populace long enough to pay the MIC we can stay the dominant military power indefinitely.

      The problem is losing our economic power, or even our international political power.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Its still unlikely. The U.S. base system is a result of the anti-Soviet bloc, and the Chinese aren’t quite the threat to poor across borders the way the Soviets were perceived.

          Modern missile defense systems mean there are low costs alternatives for countries away from the borders of large countries to defend themselves. They don’t need foreign bases from big bad militaries to act as deterrents.

          The former European colonies have more settled borders and relationships. Their governments aren’t as weak as they were and won’t be running to the father country for help. We can make American exceptionalism jokes, but the African Union can field first class operations if not yet NATO grade to handle minor issues. They don’t need to run to NATO.

      1. Solar Hero

        They don’t need a Navy. All they need is ocean-surface riding cruise missiles to take out our carrier groups.

        And in a real shooting war, they’d shoot down all our satellites, which they’ve already shown they can do….

      2. Jimi

        China does’nt need superiority militarily to be a major player. Recall a year or so ago when our Navy was doing manuevers w/5 aircraft carriers when a nuclear China submarine suddenly surfaced on their bumper. The Navy did not detect their presence. The U.S. could’ve lost all those carriers.

        Afghanistan – 12 years and counting and the U.S. has’nt prevailed. Men on horses are winning against state of the art equipment.

        1. salamander

          The USN didn’t detect its presence… are you sure of that? What would be the smarter thing to do, broadcast your capability as a deterrent, or play possum to maintain a tactical advantage?

      3. RBHoughton

        There is no history of militancy in China old chap, unless you mean the Mongol Yuen dynasty or the Manchu Chings. The nearest China gets to overt hostility is marching an army along the frontier letting off firecrackers and banging drums. The brief punch on the nose of Vietnam in 1970s was an updated version.

        The West is doing its best to have the country militarise itself in our style, teaching them to hate their neighbours and suspect everyone but its an uphill slog. They just ignore us and befriend everyone else. What to do?

    2. skippy

      GDP or Bust!

      Even its chief architect, Simon Kuznets, recognized the limitations of GDP and thought it was a poor instrument for measuring economic development.

      Skippy… self inflicted thingy…

    3. optimader

      HUH? reread and still missing the segue to: “(China will)…eventually will become the world’s dominant military power.”

      Reminds me of this classic Sidney Harris Cartoon:

      My pet thesis is the world will be hit by a very large asteroid. We have similar facts to back up our “feelings”.

  2. AbyNormal

    “Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people — and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.” obama

    “Never trust the advice of a man in difficulties.”

      1. Archer

        There is, and in its deepest circle you find those practiced in the art of betrayal. Or so I’ve heard.

    1. Solar Hero

      Nixon, the last liberal president, gave us the EPA, Clean Air Act, and opened China.

      Do not sully his name with Obama’s.

  3. der

    Speaking for myself what I sent him and the Democrats there to do with my vote in ’08 was what they put in their Renew America’s Promise platform: http://www.c-span.org/pdf/draft-2008-democratic-national-platform.pdf


    Did anyone on his staff give him Carville’s Democracy Corps Inside the GOP study? http://www.democracycorps.com/attachments/article/954/dcor%20rpp%20fg%20memo%20100313%20final.pdf

    Know your enemy. Do the Google leaders. Our elites hate the internet.

  4. Ep3

    Yves, as u say isn’t propaganda what Obama is doing here? Maybe I am misunderstanding you but I see this as Obama a) trying to be the guy who rises above b) directing blame at groups outside the fight, so that in a similiar way it’s a ‘make an enemy out of a third party so that then the enemy of my enemy becomes my friend’ I.e. blame everyone else so that he and tea party republicans can be best buds.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, but there’s the amusing bit that he can’t manage to be really statesmanlike, he has to let his pique out…and who does he attack? His favorite hobbyhorses, who are for actually people on his team but he resents them because they aren’t enough under his thumb and have the gall to show some independence once in a while.

      1. Brindle

        Obama’s pettiness is mostly directed at the relatively powerless and is a corollary to his policy of grinding his heel on the throats whistle blowers.

      2. TK421

        Is Obama really mad, do you think? He needs the Republicans to pull stunts like this so he can be “forced” to cut the social programs he has it in for.

      3. jrs

        There might be a certain very deliberate propaganda movement underway, I notice to many signs not to suspect it:

        “And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict”

        Ok lobbyist and money in politics are obviously a huge problem in general even if not with the shutdown. But other than that most of these targets are really meant as an attack on BOTH the right and the left. It’s that old politician dishonesty trick when you speak in such vast generalizations that you lump everything together in some generic “bad”, and it’s very much made to smear. And who is it smearing? Superficially the right, but I suspect the real target is the left.

        You see our enemies are the extremists on any side (all those activists and bloggers!). And the consesus being pushed is so far to the right that, the extremists on the left are anyone who believes in not just social democracy, but even the New Deal at this point. They really want to build a new quite far to the right (and it goes without saying it will also be authoritarian as that never was up for debate on any side) center. And I detect whole propaganda movements that seem to be hinting in that direction. Oh I’m not paranoid, it’s just reading tea leaves at this point, picking up vibes.

        “and focus on what the [SILENT] majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That’s why we’re here. That should be our focus”

        Blah, blah, all well and good, and I believe none of it. But the verbiage just backs up what I’m saying it’s a right centrist coalition they’re aiming for. So I had to add the silent “silent” to majority, as it’s really Nixon’s “silent majority” all over again. Obama is like Nixon, only further to the right on domestic issues.

        So yea that’s what I think Obama is up to, or else why throw a whole grabback of random suspects together and blame them, what is the kitchen sink also to blame for the shutdown now? I mean I’ve long suspect that Obama is not very bright but even he must be aiming for more than complete incoherence.

        1. LucyLulu

          “But other than that most of these targets are really meant as an attack on BOTH the right and the left.”

          That was what I heard Obama saying too. There’s a need to spread the blame and make it a bipartisan issue and not point fingers at any one side. You see it in the MSM with their “fair and balanced” slant to stories and even on this blog. Certainly there are times there is a whole lot of truth to the shared responsibility meme, but it has become blanket treatment.

          In the case of the recent government shutdown and close brush with defaulting on the debt, the blame lies squarely on one side of the aisle. It was instigated by TP extremists and allowed to proceed with the complicit agreement of the remaining House GOP (except Peter King). Attempts to blame lobbyists, special interest groups, Democrats in Congress, radical progressives, or anyone or anything else is disingenous.

          Assuming the Grand Bargain is not yet a done deal, and one should expect continued obstruction from TP members on ANY deal with ANY terms, the best protection against cuts to entitlement programs is to elect Democrats* to Congress in 2014. We need to let candidates know that support is contingent on preserving the social safety net. Progressives can learn some lessons from the TP and let representatives know that if they don’t put forth the desired policies they will be replaced in the next election. Fear of losing their seat is the one thing that can trump the influence of big money and the power brokers. Current Democrats in Congress have zero fear of competition from the left.

          Progressives need to stop blaming Obama as the architect of an inevitable Grand Betrayal. Obama doesn’t write legislation, he only has the power to sign off or veto. Congress writes the legislation. If the left has no power, as Banger says (and I agree), its in large part because Congress members with progressive policies have no base to rally behind them. Unlike conservatives who see defeat as motivation to fight harder, progressives let disappointment be reason to cause them to sit back and be sideline critics.
          If one is a Democrat in Congress, and there is support from TPTB, MSM, and general party members for backing party-line policies, and silence or criticism for backing progressive policies, its human nature to gravitate away from the negative and towards affirmation. And politicans (limelight seekers) especially are people who thrive on kudos.

          Elizabeth Warren has consistently supported progressive policies yet is criticized for not getting checked off on all of the progressive criteria. I’ve had bosses before that it seemed no matter how hard I tried and how well I did they would still find fault. Eventually I’d realize (exhausted from trying) I was seeking something they’d never give me. So I’d do my best (can we do more?) and tune them out. Perfection may exist in Hollywood and Gothic novels, but not in me…… not even close. And what a relief it was to be able to be human!

          I love NC and the people here. I’m consistently impressed, even intimidated, by how bright, articulate, and perceptive other posters are and sometimes feel like the village idiot (but one with a big mouth). Sometimes the posts go over my head, and even when they don’t, I won’t feel qualified to comment. I don’t have a finance or economics background, never even took a course in college. Much of what I DO know I’ve learned from Yves brilliant analyses (she may be the smartest person I’ve even encountered which is saying a lot, because I’ve been around some very smart people, lots of ‘geniuses’ and ‘prodigies’ in the family. It really sucks being in my family, the bar is set extremely high, and I failed miserably by quitting pre-med…. had A’s in the weeding out courses, admission chances were looking good…… to pursue marriage/family, and 20 years later find out my parents were right once again…. but I digress) and the comments. I take no issue with the content, am only sharing observations on how, IMHO, the process could be more constructive. Hopefully the comments expressed will be taken in the spirit intended.

          *Democrats or Third Party candidates, policies are more important than parties. However, being a Democrat carries a heavy advantage in terms of electability. A Third Party candidate is of no use if the candidate loses the election (and wishing otherwise doesn’t change that 3rd party candidates, no matter how well-qualified, invariably lose). While a Democrat may not qualify as a “true progressive”, they are unlikely to vote to cut entitlements unless forced into a compromise with a conservative majority. If Democrats take back the House, a Grand Betrayal is far less likely than if power differentials remain unchanged. Sustainability of entitlements will probably come from raising revenues, perhaps means testing (better than cuts or privatization). OTOH, replacing Obamacare with single-payer is as realistic an expectation as the TP getting Obamacare repealed, actually less so if Obamacare fails as it will be used as exhibit #1 that government can’t run healthcare (in which case we’ll end up with the 2009 status quo or something worse put forth by conservatives). That isn’t lesserism, that is the practical reality of underlying policy differences between the parties.

          1. savedbyirony

            Completely agree with what you are saying about people not really supporting progressive politicans. Who here would argue that any real progressive does not have the big money and mass media support any conservative or faux neoliberal Dem would have, and yet we expect them to be effective and won’t support them when they are not able to push legislation or block nasty Neoliberal bills! Well, where exactly are the progressives suppose to get any real POWER to do this if we won’t cut them a break for not being perfect AND get behind them in the actual, difficult, often ugly,realpolitik, long-term stategy and battle for our county’s soul and economic welfare back? We can’t “own” any politicians of our own if we are not willing to become intrinsicly involved with creating and supporting them. And for those already in office, public and economic pressure has to be brought on them even if they really want to bring about populist changes already. They need cover and power bases, too. Seriously, stop complaining about E. Warren 9and there are others like S. Brown of OHIO interested in serious banking reform) and actually, activistly get up and out there and HELP them/MAKE them (and others) follow thru!

      4. Banger

        Obama tends to attack the left because it has little political power in Washington so he loses very little in doing so. He thus gives the message to his backers in the oligarchy that he’s still cool with them.

  5. Cassiodorus

    I guess, then, that we bloggers will just have to peddle our tales of budgetary apocalypse more cheaply, then.


    In all seriousness, of course, none of this would have happened had Obama not given Boehner a debt ceiling to play with:


    Meanwhile all of the Obots over at DailyKos.com are cooing: “Oooh Obama stood strong.” Yeah, for himself, not for you.

    1. LucyLulu

      C’mon. Everybody thought no way Boehner would shut down the government. Obama didn’t have any special mind-reading or future prediction powers. Boehner said he wouldn’t shut the government down, just this last summer, and he was ideologically opposed to the idea. Then everyone thought for sure he’d raise the debt ceiling. He’d said he would never default on the debt as well. Not just Obama but GOP donors, big business, and big bankers too, thought Boehner would raise the debt ceiling before the deadline….. and he did. Boeehner got no concessions to entice him to do so.

      If not for the TP, Boehner would have never gone down the path he did. In 2010 when all the Bush tax cuts were extended (which can be reasonably argued that raising taxes would have been contractionary (is that a word?) and Obama chose the soundest fiscal policy), the TP hadn’t been sworn in yet, and raising the debt ceiling had always been routine. How was Obama expected to know that people who hated government had been elected (why would anybody hire somebody who hated kids to take care of their children)?

      That being said, IMO he should have stuck with raising taxes on those who don’t increase demand by spending their tax savings back into the economy, i.e. the rich. Trying to bridge the parties and end partisan politics, peut-etre? In any case, hindsight is 20/20.

      1. Cassiodorus

        Do we get a /snark tag at the end?

        Back in 2011 it was obvious that Obama was using Boehner as a tool, so he could get his sequester passed (O wanted a Grand Bargain but settled for a sequester) while blaming the whole theatrical production upon the Republicans. This time around Obama is “standing strong,” and we’ll get the Grand Bargain while the Republicans get the blame.

        Choice quote from “Lambert Strether”: “Every second ‘progressives’ spend on victory laps and triumphalist wankery makes a Grand Bargain more likely.”

        (“Lambert”: are we going to get some choice quotes from Henry James’ The Ambassadors at any point?)

  6. slav

    First there was Obama’s “I want to bomb Syria” crisis, then the government shutdown/default crisis.

    What’s the next one going to be?

  7. Susie from Philly

    Actually, Yves, the (apparently too subtle) point of my rhetorical comment to Axelrod is that I am NOT, nor have I ever been, one of those bloggers the administration can take under the bleachers. Nor was I offering to snog under the stands. I don’t care about access and never have. As you’ve illustrated many times, the real stories are in public records, not in relationships with power.

  8. NotTimothyGeithner

    I wonder if Obama will complain about kids playing on the lawn next.

    Despite his youth, Obama is the last boomer, and he lacks the self-awareness to recognize the different world where he rose to fame and celebrity versus the nature of the current environment.

    1. anon y'mouse

      kids on the lawn

      problem is, when he yells from behind the screen door in his old man sweater “I know where you live!” he’s not bluffing.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t think Obama is self-aware enough to call himself a fascist, but I think Obama sees himself as our all-knowing, responsible fascist father of this country.

        Much of his speech is sounds suspiciously like a crummy, authoritarian parent who believes their word is law and listened to at all times. Its a very creepy father knows best situation. “Eat your peas” when discussing cuts to social programs. His constant stated first priority is defending American lives, not upholding the Constitution of the United States. Obama pushes the message of Americans being surrounded by enemies ready to get us at any time while only Obama can protect us through military action and secrecy without question.

        Even his loyal blogs are a threat because they are independent enough to complain about his decisions if not label Obama responsible.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve long held the view Obama is an admired of the Lincoln Memorial not Abraham Lincoln, and the memorial is really bizarre. Lincoln is sitting in a combination of curule and throne amid a room of sterile marble overlooking and casting judgement down up on us little people.

        The monument isn’t about a manically depressed man who stayed in Washington (i.e. the front) while this massive war under his authority occurred. It Zeus on Olympus*. I think Obama is comfortable in the Lincoln throne doling out platitudes clothed in the language of religion (which was all the rage in the 1860’s; I’ve read Gen. Josh Chamberlain’s memoir. It will cause nausea. The writing is so flowery and religious in nature that it almost requires a translation).

    2. Jerome Armstrong

      ‘Despite his youth, Obama is the last boomer”

      Would that this were true. However, we are going to get Clinton there too. Probably not until 2020 will we get to move beyond.

      1. Crazy Horse

        To all you cynics out there who think there is no difference between Hillary and Obomber, I say you are mistaken.

        Obomber and Secretary of State Clinton sitting in the operations room watching the live feed of the results of their weekly assassination campaign: Clinton is chortling and cackling with glee, while Obomber is merely bored and insists that the channel be changed to the NBA game of the week.

        I do have HOPE for CHANGE though. Have you noticed how much the Hillary witch has aged in the past year? With any luck she will suffer a massive stroke before ascending to her rightful position atop the throne.

        For a country that has never had a King or Queen we do seem to need our royal families—-. Makes it so much easier when the voters don’t have to memorize a new name.

  9. Paul Walker

    “Professional activists who profit from conflict” – Barack Obama

    Sounds like President Obama is including community organizers, that most reviled of all coercive political intruders into his mix. Wasn’t Obama one of those nasty community organizin’ types at one time? Note to James Clapper to intensify watchful eye programs on Obama and his associates for their clear and continued association with these and like unsavory and destabilizing social elements.

    1. LucyLulu

      Speaking of community organizers and destabilizing social elements………

      Did anybody see the protests at the veterans memorial I think it was (didn’t catch the whole thing) with people protesting the govt shutdown. In the back a couple people had rifles or shotguns they were waving in the air. There was a scuffle over moving some barricades which were being used as shields between protestors and cops. There were also cops on horseback.

      Anyways, the protestors were older and one threw a punch at a cop and there was another struggle over possession of a barricade and some ‘disrespectful’ words being used against the cops. What was so astounding was how respectful the police were, and how incredibly tolerant. They were dodging the punches, ignoring verbal abuse, and trying to calm people down. Images of OWS and tear gas, handcuffs, and zillions of spacesuit outfitted militia members kept flashing in my mind in comparison. Was it the presence of MSM filming or was it the difference in who was protesting?

  10. Urea Heep

    Obama had to crawl for his supervisor Ben Rhodes when he couldn’t deliver the just war in Syria. Putin stomped him flat. Alexander put the laser dot on his forehead because he couldn’t cover up official crime right. Dimon’s laughing in his face at his hammy pretense of law-enforcement. Imagine his anguish. Obama thought he was plucked from obscurity to be a big shot, but all he does at work is suck off spooks and bankers.

    But when you’re disgraced and humiliated and your ‘signature’ program is in ruins, nothing cheers you up like a little kiss up, kick down! So take that, Digby, you’re not nearly obsequious enough.

  11. Roquentin

    Few things crack me up more than Republicans calling Obama a “socialist.” He’s barely even center-right. He trots out the same bathos in every speech. It’s not even worth listening to. As glad as I am to see the Tea Party humbled, this isn’t much better.

  12. charles sereno

    Obama’s speech is befuddling. The tone of subtle arrogance must have a purpose. My guess is that he’s baiting the opposition to harden their positions so that, in the end, he will be seen as saving the American people from “irresponsible fiscal reform.” Castor Oil rather than a dreaded Enema. Catfood rather than a deadly Chicken Nugget ?

  13. Hugh

    Bush used to have these moments when the good old boy mask would slip and the cowardly, mean bully boy would come out. As in so many other things, Obama copies him here as well.

    I would take rather Obama’s contempt as a badge of honor, that the rhetoric is no longer working and that and we are really getting to him.

    It goes without saying that Obama is a liar. He could have ended this crisis at anytime and could do so in the future again by invoking the 14th Amendment, going with the platinum coin, issuing consols, or creating repos.

    There was a crisis because Obama wanted one as much as the Republicans did, the people and the country be damned. And yes, for him, this was all a setup for another attempt to gut Social Security and Medicare.

    Obama is an agent of the 1% and can only act in bad faith with regard to the 99%. He does not merit any benefit of the doubt. There is no need to laboriously search his words for any hidden truths. All we need to do is parse the lies and stay focused on the agenda, but his and ours.

  14. MLS

    “Obama has long believed that the solution to any problem is better propaganda. But he is so obsessed with loyalty and control that parties who have the independence they need to be credible aren’t as subordinate to him as he’d like.”

    Nailed it, Yves. Well put.

  15. Min

    Obama: “And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, . . .”

    Obligatory conciliatory bullshit. I wouldn’t make much of anything of it. The point was not to cast blame on the people you want to work with you by passing it off on others. Everybody knows it’s bullshit. Like saying Fine when someone asks how you are. ;)

  16. denim

    Thank you so much. It is right on, unfortunately.
    I filed the bookmark for this article in my “Moral Fiber” folder.

  17. clarence swinney

    Bush Great Recession is still in effect?
    Five years later we continue to have little confidence in this recovery.
    We have chronic high unemployment.
    Poverty levels continue to rise.
    Record dependence on Food Stamps.
    Weak personal consumption.
    Stagnant wages.
    Falling Middle Class.
    Record Inequality.
    Huge growth in profits of big corporations and banks.
    Corporate earnings represent a record larger share of GDP.
    Real wages declined 18.6% over the past year.
    Trust in three branches of our government lowest in Gallup history.
    Trust in banks at all time low.
    Existing home inventories are increasing
    What do we do? Who can turn it around?
    How do you vote next year? D or R?
    Please no Tea Party vote. Boot them out.

    1. LucyLulu

      And this shutdown and close brush with the debt ceiling will further erode the economy. My hunch is it will have long-term consequences in terms of confidence in the $ and transition off of the reserve currency. China seemed seriously angry but for the time being can’t dump their Treasuries of $ without taking a big hit. They’ll be looking for an opening though. The rest of the world doesn’t have the same short term memory issues as Americans.

      Would anybody want to hold Chinese or Japanese sovereign bonds if their government acted the same way? I’m not an expert on Asian culture but I’d think their people would especially find the attached drama irrational and inexplicable.

    2. LucyLulu

      My representative, Howard Coble (R), NC-6, not TP per se but gives them supporting votes, is 82 going on 110. He hasn’t decided yet if he will retire. He’s been having health issues and looks worse than usual. This is Brad Miller’s former district. The Democratic Rep. that Rep. Miller didn’t want to run against, after redistricting in 2012 put them in the same district, hasn’t filed his intent to run for the seat. The district lines are bizarre, there are two other districts within a couple blocks of me and includes the Research Triangle an hour away. Six counties are in my district, and the counties aren’t rural, more like one giant suburb, with finger-like projections here, there, and everywhere. Drawing the boundaries was definitely about getting the correct population count.

      Does anybody here (uh hum, Yves) know Rep. Miller that might be able to sway him to throw his hat in the ring if Coble retires? He’s working at a law firm in Raleigh/Durham.

  18. ohkate

    Your writing on economic subjects has impressed me and added greatly to my knowledge. However, I was appalled and disappointed to find you using the type of logically fallacious attack we are accustomed to exposing from the right wing. Not only did you use an ad hominem attack on John Podesta, CEO of CAP in 2011, you just repeated it in this column. “His brother is an enormously powerful corporate lobbyist, and I’ve heard his brother also apparently collects and ostentatiously displays pornographically-themed art (a tactic to impress/intimidate clients; ironically, anyone who has done time on Wall Street has seen worse and at closer range too).”

    The real ironic thing is that this ad h attack (also, of course, guilt by association) is so unnecessary. It appears to be lazy (“I’ve heard”), avoiding the need to cite actual actions Podesta has taken or statements that he has made, research that I’m sure you have already done. Why stoop so low?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You seem to be going on the assumption that the CAP and Podesta deserve respect. They don’t. We’ve debunked quite a few of their policy positions. On a post about an Obama speech about power relation in DC, this comment is completely appropriate. All they deserve is a drive-by shooting. They’ll be treated more seriously when we are dealing with actual policies.

  19. chris m

    trying to figure out how calling a time out in the last 2 minutes of the fourth quarter is worthy of a speech or a lecture. three month time out. nothing resolved. the debt limit tactic now shown to work, these teabaggers think they’re on to something and their corporate benefactors have just begun to purchase public opinion. low wage republicans don’t require a majority. they just need to create chaos, anarchy, and the resulting financial crisis will again drown the voice of labor, environmentalists, etc.

    pure propaganda, and solely in obama’s “legacy” interests. it’s the same ‘grown up’ speech he’s vomited for years. it’s repulsive. puerile. his actions speak louder than words. center right policy with lip service for progressives.

    probably a little early to ice up the champagne. that he might deign to chide us so, is just more of the same. oligarch hand puppetry.

    1. LucyLulu

      The TP business donors do NOT stand behind the shutdown and debt ceiling tactics. Those donors are throwing their support elsewhere now. They were casualties of the antics. Even Heritage Action has backed off.

      The only TP’er that still has money backing is Ted Crud. He’s fundraising for President 2016. I will self-immolate at the farmer’s market if he wins.

  20. TC

    He’s weak. He can’t help but show it. This was the worst case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory ever. The Tea Party could have been smashed and buried and the Republican party effectively marginalized. So much good policy could have been given wide public airing and all the spineless jellyfish of the Democratic party could do was lay down. They’re pathetic. The most inept fascists yet.

  21. Alan

    It’s too late. A year or two ago the liberal readers of this website could find no wrong with Mr Obama. It took 6 years and a re-election for you to figure it out. Now it’s obvious he’s insecure, egotistical, a corporatist and a warmonger to boot. I admit the warmonger trait took some time to emerge, but the rest was obvious early term 1. You re-elected him. It’s too late. He could simply do no wrong.

  22. Rebecca Taylor

    I have a question about the affordable care act; since the Obama administration is forcing us the people to aquire “affordable” health insurance…”affordable” meaning $15,000-$17,500/year…do they plan on adding any budgeting assistance? I may aquire health insurance for $81/month however this plan has a $15,000 co and oop combined year max…I gross $32,00/year meaning if I use my “affordable” insurance I will aquire up to $15,000 in debt…How is that helping the economy or anyone if I am spending all my income on debt? Iam sure there are thousands of people that are in the same “boat” as I am…This is an outrageous burden that is forced upon the people. Obama should be ashamed of himselve blaming republicans and Lobbyists, the fact is is he is a crook and spreading greed like no other.

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