You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry (Part 2)

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As they did during another crisis incident faced by the Obama administration (the BP spill), media types and emogressives are urging the president to get riled up over the shitty economy. Obama is too damn squishy and effete, they complain. So professorial. He lacks “fire in the belly.”

Perhaps they’re forgetting another reality as this beleaguered president tries to manage and mitigate America’s ongoing nervous breakdown: Where they see a too-cool customer who needs to get fired up and start swinging at the opposition, the other half of this bipolar nation sees a scary black man who wants to get whitey.

Glenn Beck a couple of days ago:

We have the riots that are over in Europe. What I believe will be race riots here in the United States fueled by the media and by our politicians. When anybody says, you know, that the tea partiers don’t want to pay their fair share or the corporate executives don’t want to pay their fair share, that is stereotypical – let me use their language – that is “code language,” thank you left, that’s “code language” uh, for uh, “cracker.”

Rush Limbaugh a few days before that:

This guy’s—this guy obviously has got a new role model, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The next thing to look out for is for Obama to take the farms. Well, that’s what Zimbabwe, that’s what Mugabe did, he took the white people’s farms. That’s the only, the only place they had any money.

What occasioned these hysterical remarks? Obama’s mild assertion that when addressing the debt, Congress should take a “balanced approach,” and everyone should pay their “fair share.”

On a sane planet, reprinting the bloviations of these race-baiting cretins would be “nut-picking.” But we don’t live on that planet. Beck lost his Fox News gig, true, but a couple of years back, he lured between 70,000 and eleventy-billion people (depending on who’s doing the counting) to the Mall in DC and was instrumental in kicking off the Tea Party movement, which went on to besmirch the country’s credit rating, an achievement that will negatively affect every single one of us.

Just a few years ago, Limbaugh received an on-air tongue-bath from a sitting US president, that president’s former-president father and his brother, the former governor of Florida. My point is, these people may be race-baiting loonies whose views shouldn’t resonate beyond StØrmfrØnt, but unfortunately, they are opinion leaders.

So yeah, I’d like to see Obama go all HULK SMASH on the Tea Party assholes too. But I think he knows what he’s doing.

In his calm, measured way, Obama has induced the GOP to hang a grapefruit over home plate in the form of their mad plan to turn Medicare over to the private insurance industry in order to fund continued tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. Obama will take his swing, but it won’t be a wild and drama-filled brandishing of the bat. Why? Because here’s what a large portion of our fellow Americans would see:

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I know it’s 2011, but this is where we are. Stay cool, Mr. President.

Posted by Betty Cracker on 08/10/11 at 06:37 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaBedwettersBushCoElection '08Election '10Election '12Manic ProgressivesNuttersTeabaggeryOur Stupid MediaPUMAs

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The emos also seem to have forgotten that they spent the election screaming that Obama WANTED to lose because he didn’t instantly respond to every attack with a big Fuck You Muthafucka!

As for Beck and Rush, who wants to place bets on which one will be the first to break out the n-word? My money is on Beck since he has already established that people are flinging the C word around (in super secret code).

My money’s on Limbaugh, HTP. They’re both race-baiters, but I get the feeling Limbaugh has the more “deep-seated hatred” of black folks of the two. Limbaugh’s dream jobs—ESPN football analyst and NFL owner—were dashed on the rocks of Rush racism. I wonder if football is dead to him now…

So what? “They” will always be against Obama. “They” will always be racially motivated in their opposition. Nothing - nothing - the president can do will mitigate, much less change, that one little bit. So, why not got for it and get something - anything - done? He constantly appeals to the right, concedes, caves to their every whim and then gets smacked in the face by the same people. How often do the rest of us have to suffer this humiliation and discouragement? I’d be a lot happier if Obama would just come out and say his “strategy” is not to get the opposition to overly het up, to appease them in every way, even at the cost of the people who elected him. I don’t respect this approach, although the results are the same. Such a disappointment.

I know I’ve cited it before, but I just finished Plouffe’s book The Audacity to Win. Over and over again it, he tells of Obama telling them to cool it, calm down, stick with the plan, don’t run around wildly, and most of all, trust the voters.

McCain “won the morning” and “won the day” every day for months.  Was there ever a day that didn’t hold good news for John McCain?  And all along, the Obama campaign stuck to their plan.

I know it’s a cliché, but the lesson from the book is summed up in one image.

Comment by MikeJ on 08/10/11 at 08:23 AM

I here ya, SO. Getting a health care bill, the end of DADT, Lily Ledbetter, coverage for preventive health care and birth control without copays, etc., is just so goddamned humiliating. It makes me want to bite my pillow.

So, why not got for it and get something - anything - done?

You were presumably asleep for the first two years of Obama’s reign term of office.

He constantly appeals to the right, concedes, caves to their every whim and then gets smacked in the face by the same people. How often do the rest of us have to suffer this humiliation and discouragement?

I want to have sex with you, just to see if you make the same faces when you’re not typing.

@SOwhat: so yesterday, Smiley and West were on the Amy Goodman Freak The Hell Out Hour (I respect Amy for a number of reasons, but any ten minutes not involving Pete Seeger usually set me up as suicidal for the day).

They went on at some length along the same lines as you: sell-out! spineless! What we need is a Bernie Sanders-like figure to primary the president!

Bernie Sanders-like? What, is the Man From Vermont not going to come to the aid of his country?

Uh, no.

Well, how about you, Dr. West? Amy asked, “Would you primary the president?”

Oh, no, no, no, Brother West’s not meant to be part of the political sphere!

OK, then! Tavis!  Gonna throw your hat in the ring?

AMY GOODMAN: What are you exploring exactly? Are you talking about another candidate running for president?

CORNEL WEST: It would be a Bernie Sanders-like figure who is fundamentally committed to the legacy of Martin King and Fannie Lou Hamer and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dorothy Day, putting poor and working people at the center.

AMY GOODMAN: When you say Bernie Sanders-type, is Bernie Sanders considering running for president?

CORNEL WEST: Unfortunately, I don’t think so.

TAVIS SMILEY: He said he’s not.

CORNEL WEST: I wish he was, because he’s my kind of brother. But someone like that who’s got backbone and courage.

AMY GOODMAN: Tavis Smiley, would you like to see someone else run, and are you considering it yourself?

TAVIS SMILEY: That right there is the joke of the day. Actually, Dr. West has a great line about that, Amy. You should have asked him that question; he has a great line. He says, you would much sooner find him in a crack house than in the White House. That’s his response to that.

Har!

Barack Obama is disappointing these sideline-sitting gents because he’s spineless?

Good luck searching for your “Bernie Sanders-like figure.” Have you thought of Craigslist?

Mrs. Polly, ABL linked to some great segments on Steve Harvey’s radio show where they smacked Smiley and West’s poverty tour like a bunch of eight-year-olds desperate for pinata candy…

I’m supposed to be suffering “humiliation and discouragement” because of something the President did or didn’t do?  WTF?

SO, buddy, pal, I suffer humiliation and discouragement when I have an erection that doesn’t last for four hours.  As far as whether or not the Prez is extra-special chummy with Wall Street or Republicans (but I repeat myself), I can’t get too excited about something that I expected.

Good luck searching for your “Bernie Sanders-like figure.”

Is this close enough?

http://www.amazon.com/Accoutrements-10884-Sigmund-Ac tion-Figure/dp/B0006FU9DC

Comment by Mr. Whipple on 08/10/11 at 09:20 AM

Anyone thinking Barrack Obama would go medieval on someone’s ass has been living under a rock for four years.  That is so fundamentally not who he is, which has been obvious from the get-go.  He talks about it in his two best sellers~heh.

Sure in some ways it would be satisfying but ain’t.going.to.happen.

And, I love my junior senator, but I guarantee he’d disappoint as well.

I want a President that does the best he can with what he has to work with.  Oh wait, we already have one.

That Amy Goodman is hysterical, just hysterical.  I can’t stand this West/Smiley thing. It reeks of sour grapes.

However, and I guess I’m always the outlier here, I think there is a way in which our politics pushes us towards overidentifying with the President, and therefore experiencing his perceived victories as ours and his perceived slighting as ours.  That’s just the reality of our political system—its not a flaw in the voter its a feature of our team sports model, a love of trash talking and “psyche” moments, and all the rest that goes along with tribal voting styles.

This has nothing to do specifically with Obama and/or his imagined weak willed voters.  They weren’t wrong to vote for him because they “believed in him” or “loved him” or “thought he and Michelle were a wonderful couple” or “he’s a great dad” or anything else. He was explicitly marketed that way to attract votes.  All politicians are marketed to voters. And all politicians try to get voters to identify with them personally, as a brand, and politically as a member of a party.  Sarah Palin, Bachmann and even McCain and Bush all marketed *themselves* to their supporters.  And their supporters inevitably see/saw everything that happens to their chosen representative as…well…representative of things happening to themselves.

Obama’s voters and a whole lot of other people rejoiced when Obama “got” Osama bin Laden.  When he got the Peace Prize.  When the Queen of England made a fuss over him.  When he passed the ACA.  The flip side of that communal good feeling is always going to be communal bad feeling when something doesn’t go well for our guy.  That’s the very nature of human sociality: we are not just commanded to “mourn with those who mourn” we just naturally do.  We suffer when our team takes a perceived blow, we feel humiliated when our guy seems to suffer a humiliation.

This is a feature and not a bug and I only wish Obama and his team could figure out how to use it and not simply bitch about it.

aimai

It would be a Bernie Sanders-like figure who is fundamentally committed to the legacy of Martin King and Fannie Lou Hamer and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dorothy Day, putting poor and working people at the center.

LOLWhut? So, he wants someone who is like a bunch of people who never ran for political office, except with a little BS injection to get them going.

Yeesh.

Here’s an idea: I hope Obama calls out some of his supporters for the gutless, self-absorbed bastards that they are, then quits.

That would be better than sex.

As I’ve said before, I’m not convinced Obama has a big problem with his base. Oh sure, there are disillusioned firebaggers aplenty, and I spend enough time lurking on firebagger blogs to know their complaints chapter and verse. But polling indicates Obama’s support is pretty damn solid with Democrats, and his personal approval ratings overall are remarkably positive given the horrendous state of the country right now.

What I worry about (and the reason I wrote this post) is that the media is ginning up a narrative that can take hold, just like Al Gore’s exasperated sighs and earth tones strategy became legendary. I think the reason people like Obama is that he’s unruffled, and if he goes all Cornell West to please a tiny fraction of the electorate, he will lose the rest. He won’t do that, of course.

I’m not saying Obama shouldn’t fight for the middle class and progressive values. I believe he has and he will. And if he wins a second term and the Republicans step on their own dicks by succumbing to the need to appease the rabid nutballs that comprise their base and lose the House, we’ll see some real progress on reversing wealth inequality.

It would be a Bernie Sanders-like figure who is fundamentally committed to the legacy of Martin King and Fannie Lou Hamer and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dorothy Day,

I first read that as Doris Day.

Que Sera, Sera.

Look, he doesn’t have to go all Cornel West.  All he has to do is to stand up and say “I will not let life or death stand in the way of this sublime and funky public option that I crave.”  Instead, he continues to humiliate us by giving the right everything they want, like cut, cup and balance and the Ryan Plan.

Said it before, I’ll say it again: too many faux-lefties really ARE the spineless, gutless, unable-to-fight-back-against-bullies that they didn’t want a good honorable executive in the White House with an ability to move in the right direction on progressive legislation—they wanted Adam Baldwin from My Bodyguard.

Sorry guys—if you need somebody to avenge the wedgie-swirly combo the mean jocks who probably grew up to be Republicans gave you in junior high, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The president is a little busy trying to keep things from falling completely to shit while you bitch, moan, and lie about the accomplishments of his administration and the 111th Congress like the pathetic weenies you’ve always been.

Betty,
I agree with you that Obama can’t and shouldn’t do things that are not in character. I think one thing that is pretty solidly understood by this time, by Obama’s detractors as well as his fans, is that he is a good tempered, even tempered, good natured kind of guy. He is Mr. Cool at all times.  Going against this would be “playing against type” and he would risk the apperance of “inauthenticity” and all that that means for popular outrage.

However, that being said, there are ways and ways of having Obama continue to represent the sensible centrist middle in ways that can be to his benefit. I don’t want Obama to play the “angry black guy card.” I want Obama and the Dems to construct a realistic alternative to the far left that Obama can play against—not delegitimize but in a sense use as a backdrop.  I think he needs to do that to please the emotional side of his base and to please the desired middle of the road voter.

The question is how to do it not whether to do it.  I think they made a start with choosing Biden as VP. I think he was supposed to appeal (and he did appeal) to a kind of hysterical older white voter while he was considered irrelevant to other voters.  Obama needs surrogates, and people who are farther out on the circuit than official surrogates, to enable lots of different kinds of voters to feel represented, known, and “serviced” by the Obama/Dem team.

Frankly, I think one of the things that has hurt Obama most with his supporters is the sense that the people who might have played that role got shafted by the Republicans and weren’t replaced by identical figures. I’m thinking of Van Jones and of Elizabeth Warren. I don’t blame Obama at all for those two people never making it in his Administration. And I don’t mean to argue that more than a handful of people knew (or would ever know) who these people were. And I think Obama was responding to force majeure.  I’m just arguing that an administration is like a long running soap opera—people who pay attention (and those who don’t) develop the illusory sense that one character is like them, or supports them, or they identify with that character. It actually takes the pressure off the “lead” by giving the writers and the viewers lots of chances to have their emotional needs met.

Obama is entirely surrounded by people that are unknown, or centrist, or obviously the result of some compromise with the right side of the aisle.  This puts huge pressure on Obama to be the only one that people outside the beltway can imagine as responsive to their needs.

I guess what I’m saying is that the Republicans and their voters have a whole lot of “surrogates” out there speaking generically for the party and its ideology (Limbaugh, Beck, Ingraham,AEI, Cantor, etc…) and the Democrats because of the funding differences, lack of media exposure, and lack of resourcefulness have nothing *but* Obama to hold up to the voters. That just puts too much pressure on Obama to be all things to all voters. He and the Dems need to construct popular figures that voters can see as bringing their needs/issues to the President in a non confrontational way. He can continue to stand above the fray and be calm as long as someone else is doing the emoting for him.

aimai

He and the Dems need to construct popular figures that voters can see as bringing their needs/issues to the President in a non confrontational way. He can continue to stand above the fray and be calm as long as someone else is doing the emoting for him.

The Republicans have been building their Echo Chamber since 1984. I don’t think we can “construct popular figures” in 15 months, and if we could, we’d probably be better off running them for Congress.

We have some friendly media figures, like Maddow and (mostly) Stewart. But Air America failed because Liberals don’t need constant talk radio reinforcement. We do have our own think-tanks, like Center for American Progress. Unfortunately, we also have Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Code Pink. Plus, we’ve lost established online orgs like DKos, FDL and MoveOn because they didn’t get enough ponies.

I’m afraid we may have to work with whatever faces and organizations we have at the moment. That’s the hand we’ve been dealt.

I agree with Strange. And again—the president is a little fucking busy dealing with one fucking disaster after another to have time for a soap-opera casting-call session to reassure us that our favorite “characters” are taking care of us.

Maybe I’m an outlier, but the fact that this president seems to assume that I’m an adult and can take care of tending to my own emotional needs instead of outsourcing the job to him makes me happy. I didn’t give a good goddamn if Bill Clinton could “feel my pain,” because A) fucker didn’t know me or my feelings so it was straight-up bullshit and B) his job wasn’t to “feel”—his job was to get shit done.

If one by-product of the Obama administration is weaning Americans from the puerile notion that we elect presidents to be our Daddy Surrogates, then that will be great. If we fail to re-elect him because he didn’t tell us the right nighty-night stories, then it simply means that we really are the dumbest motherfuckers in the world and it is necessary for America to die off so the rest of the world has a fighting goddamn chance.

I guess what I’m saying is that the Republicans and their voters have a whole lot of “surrogates” out there speaking generically for the party and its ideology (Limbaugh, Beck, Ingraham,AEI, Cantor, etc…) and the Democrats because of the funding differences, lack of media exposure, and lack of resourcefulness have nothing *but* Obama to hold up to the voters

It wouldn’t matter anyway. It’s in the nature of the beast for these types to bitch constantly about their own side.

If Air America was still on air, what would they be doing? Bitching about Obama instead of Republicans. (And doing so in an unprofessional style typical of a high school stoner radio station or community cable access at 4 am.)

Actually, we DID try to create a credible attack-dog in the form of Wassermann-Schultz.

We should think really hard before we try that again.

The Republicans have been building their Echo Chamber since 1984.

Not only that, but they’ve been infiltrating every public body from school board to dogcatcher and upward for a long time. It gives them ways of influencing the public debate, and some of them have advanced up the ladder on the strength of it.

It’s a long-term strategy that few on the “far left” seem to have any stomach for (in the UK, too).

Yeah, again—I agree with Mr. Whipple. Much as it’s a good thing for the party’s broad-based coalitions in the long run that the Dems don’t march in lockstep, it also makes it increasingly unlikely that any coordinated media message is going to get out, particularly in this environment.

My standard response to people on my side bitching about “Oh, the Obama administration isn’t good at building narrative, blah blah blah” is “Well, then HELP them with it, since they’ve got so much on their plates. Instead of bitching about how they’re bad at narrative, write letters to your local media and your elected reps underscoring how much you appreciate all that has been accomplished by the administration and the last Congress. And try to be positive from the get-go, instead of starting with the weak-tea ‘While we’re all disappointed healthcare didn’t go further…’ crap. Fuck that! Be a little fucking triumphalist yourselves for a change—‘We got healthcare reform, bitchez! How do you like THAT Waterloo?’ before you start lecturing the president on how to ‘fight’ and ‘tell stories.’”

The candidates who ran away from the healthcare reform bill on right and left (Blue Dogs and “bold progressives” like Feingold and Grayson) were the ones who got their asses handed to them in 2010, because—surprise, surprise—they never made a convincing case for why it was a great thing. And the residual damage was caused by “progressive” activists who failed to cheerlead LOUDLY and WITHOUT APOLOGY for the fact that a major big fucking deal—a piece of huge social legislation that had been a cornerstone of the Dem platform for decades—had just happened against some of the most vociferous opposition imaginable. That’s when I knew that there were people on my side who are in fact more dangerous to my goals than the GOP - because literally NOTHING will ever make them happy. They are as pathological as Tea Partiers in their need to feel forever victimized. No story can ever make them feel secure, because their very identity lies in being the Aggrieved Ones. It’s a waste of energy and oxygen trying to convince them otherwise.

And what YAFB said. Also, too. I keep thinking what today’s WI results would like if the votes in Waukesha were being tabulated by a Dem county clerk. There are no small races.

Betty, one of my libertarian FB friends (I have a couple) tried to use the Black Panther thing as a point of comparison with the Kochs pouring money into Wisconsin. He tried to squirm out of it with a “both sides do it” false-equivalency thing by admitting that the Black Panthers were overplayed by right-wing media, but he hasn’t responded to my request for proof that they were funded by George Soros.

Throughout the entire goddamn campaign, I shushed anyone who said Obama had to ‘get angry’ for the reasons Betty cited in the OP.  He can’t afford to go all gangsta on anyone’s ass.  Plus, he has been angry, Midwest angry, as evidenced in his speech about the debt ceiling, and he got blasted for that, too.

I’m with Oblo.  The prez is not Daddy of the US or any bullshit like that.  He has a job to do and he was handed a shitty mess so us Dems need to stop slagging at him (carefully separated from actual valid criticisms of his policies as long as said criticisms take into account political reality) and start protecting his flank. 

Why the fuck would independents or moderates want to vote for Obama if his so-called base hates him?

And finally, I just gotta say how frustrating it has been, year after year, to hear Dems and lefties scream about “We need to fight back like the GOP”—and then fail to do EXACTLY that when they have the opportunity.

If you’ll notice, one of the ways the GOP “fights back” is NOT by nut-picking everything that their leadership does, but by taking the smallest of victories and spinning it as a Big Fucking Deal. Sure, they’re lockstep, we’re not, blah blah blah. (Though I notice that “not being lockstep, we’re a big tent” is only a viable excuse for Dem VOTERS—apparently Blue Dogs aren’t allowed to vote their interests/ideologies because then they’re “sell-outs”—how surprising for politicians who want to be re-elected to vote the way their donors and constitutents want.)

But that unified-messaging thing the GOP has going for it (at least until recently) sure is effective at convincing voters and the media that they’re “strong” and “effective,” even when the legislation they’re passing is far more pernicious (Medicare Part D, anyone?) than what the Obama administration and the last Congress got through.

So in other words—Lefties, Heal Thyselves! Stop whining, stop looking for Daddy to tell you a soothing/encouraging story, and for the love of the god I don’t believe in stop being so stump-stupid and weak and useless that you continually undercut the people who are working FOR you by suggesting that their accomplishments don’t mean shit, they’re selling you out, that Mythical Daddy In Your Head Could Win a Primary Against Bad Daddy, etc.

And if you can’t do that—then DIAF. I mean it. Seriously. Hurt your feelings? Too fucking bad. Take your own advice to the guy who has signed more progressive legislation than I’ve seen in my nearly half-century on this scarred blue marble and “Grow a pair” or “get a spine donor.”

And the residual damage was caused by “progressive” activists who failed to cheerlead LOUDLY and WITHOUT APOLOGY for the fact that a major big fucking deal—a piece of huge social legislation that had been a cornerstone of the Dem platform for decades—had just happened against some of the most vociferous opposition imaginable.

Amen. Since day 1 they’ve also been crying the original stimulus was too small instead of doing any promotion whatsoever what good the stimulus was doing. So what we end up with now is a situation where the President can’t even use the ‘S’ word, because the public is convinced it was all a boondoggle.

How hard would it have been for the professional left to do a story daily about a project taking place and jobs being created as a result of the stimulus? It wouldn’t have taken any longer than the endless columns whining about it and everything else economic.

Another thread and round of comments to inspire “I <3 Rump Roast” scribblings on the Pee Chee in my mind.

Well, Mr. Whipple, it goes back to the “if I’m not a victim, then what am I?” Because clearly putting one’s fee-fees on the back burner and taking responsibility and being proactive and positive and keeping the fight going is asking too much of the Professional Victim Class. They’ve got Poutrage to sell, by god!

Damn, I love ya’ all when you’re feeling righteous! 


.....and all the rest of the time too.

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