Patterico's Pontifications

3/20/2009

Purity, Common Sense, and The Case of the Missing Comment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:11 pm

I’m not sure how or why my discussion with Jeff Goldstein spiraled downward so far or so fast. We’re on the same side. We hate what Obama is doing to this country. We’re sick of seeing our children’s future get mortgaged by reckless and irresponsible spending, and the headlong rush into an intrusive European-style socialism.

This makes conservatives angry. But we can decide how to channel that anger. And I don’t see how being among the few, pure, and powerless conservatives is going to help my children’s future.

I stand by my position that Jeff is wrong as a matter of his approach. We need not walk on eggshells to avoid offending those who will take offense no matter what we say. But we can’t use that as an excuse to say to hell with everyone who isn’t already rabidly committed to our side.

We are not conceding an inch when we accept the fact that conservative spokespeople need to be clear-spoken — and thoughtful about how reasonable people will receive their words. I’m talking about speaking to common Americans. I utterly reject the view held by some that Americans not already utterly committed to one party may be ignored, while we preach bold words to an ever-dwindling choir.

Conservatives believe that Americans understand that freedom is the foundation of this country. Too many in America started down the wrong path in the last election. But we can’t hold these people in contempt, and we can’t discount how they will hear the message we preach. Americans are fundamentally reasonable people. And ultimately, our message will win them over — if we preach it in a proud, confident, and positive way.

There’s really nothing more to be said on that issue. That said, there are some charges that have been made that I cannot let stand in public without response.

Like Jeff Goldstein’s claim that I deliberately deleted a comment of his without notice — and his related claims that my “pretend good faith is just a load of shit,” and that I am “[i]nsane and a liar.”

I did not delete the comment Jeff accuses me of deleting without notice. I have an active moderation filter that captures comments for numerous reasons. Last night, Jeff’s comment was automatically placed in moderation, along with 27 other comments. Tonight I fished all 28 of them out — including his, which I saw for the first time this evening, following the above accusations.

I try to clear the moderation filter often, but I am generally busy, and I have been especially busy this week. Between the two comment filters at this site, I often have to wade through literally hundreds of comments to free the substantive ones. I simply don’t have time to monitor the comment filters constantly.

The filtering has nothing to do with blocking dissenting points of view. One of my own comments was among the 28 legitimate comments caught in the filter. The other 27 comments were from 20 people other than myself, including: joker, Allahpundit (3 comments), Dmac, Mark (2 comments), Baxter Greene, ML, Ag80, JannyMae, j curtis, Joe, Jeff G, Pendleton, eaglewingz08 (2 comments), carlitos, Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., daleyrocks (4 comments), Xavier8, Ed from PA, wheeler’s cat, and aoibhneas.

Among other reasons, a comment may enter the filter if it contains 5 or more links. The comment from Jeff G contained 6 links. This is almost certainly the reason it entered the filter.

In addition, I have lied about nothing, and although some may question my sanity from time to time, my team of psychologists assures me that I’m making tremendous progress.

The bold approach of insulting those with whom you disagree has not impressed me. And getting back to the larger picture, I doubt it will impress common-sense Americans either.

And I think it’s about time we conservatives started firing volleys outward and not inward. We agree on the basics. They’re wrong and we’re right. THEY are wrong and WE are right. So let’s stop tearing each other up and go tear THEM up.

I’m done discussing this and I’m not allowing comments on this post.

Obama’s problem is not communicating; it is governing

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:12 am

The Politico suggests that what we have here is a failure to communicate:

Of all the pitfalls Barack Obama might face in the presidency, here is one not many people predicted: He is struggling as a public communicator.

***

What’s different now? The polished phrases and unflappable delivery haven’t gone away. His prime-time news conference and speech to Congress drew the usual praise.

But the discipline and strategic focus of the campaign have yet to move into the White House.

Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen then break down his supposed problems: mixed messages; mixed messengers; being too cool for his own good; not telling enough “hard truths about the complexity of the economic problems and the complexity of the solutions”; and criticism from fellow Democrats.  Obamacon Peggy Noonan echoes a number of these concerns in fretting over the “unbearable lightness” of Obama’s presidency to date.

Setting aside whether Pres. Obama’s reputation as a great communicator ever lived up to the hype of the establishment media, these analyses miss the point.  Obama’s communication as president is not the problem, but a symptom of Obama’s larger, deeper problems.

Pres. Obama delivers mixed messages on the economy because the plan to save America’s banks — which he should have been developing since his election — has now been delayed until April.  This abject failure creates an image of incompetence, sparking fear and uncertainty in the financial markets and on Capitol Hill.  It also leaves Obama with out strategic organizing principles for the Administration’s rhetoric.  Obama and his spokespeople thus veer from doomsaying to happytalk based on purely tactical considerations (e.g., passing a stimulus bill) or the reaction to same (e.g.,  reassuring the markets which gyrate on the Administration’s comments, rumors of unannounced plans, etc.).

In such an atmosphere, things like Treasury Secretary Timmy Geithner’s botch job of issues like the AIG bonuses get magnified, and serve as a reminder of the larger problems, including Geithner’s failure to staff up the Treasury weeks into the Administration, and the general lack of oversight of hundreds of billions in TARP funds required by law.

Obama’s friction with Congressional Democrats was an entirely predictable result of his “too much, too soon” agenda, for which there are also no concrete proposals.  Even Ms. Noonan gets this one:

Mr. Obama likes to say presidents can do more than one thing at a time, but in fact modern presidents are lucky to do one thing at a time, never mind two.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates due today will likely make Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) even more skeptical of the Obama budget and more opposed to the trial balloon of ramming socialized healthcare through the Senate as part of the budget reconciliation process.  The US is gambling on creating over a trillion dollars out of thin air to dig the nation out of a recession, with no guarantee that it will work any better than it did for Japan in the 1990s.  Outside the White House, people like Sen. Conrad (and the Gang of 15 led by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)) might not think this is the ideal time to saddle the country with trillions in additional spending on already unsustainable entitlement programs.

Governing is choosing among priorities.  Pres. Obama, having reached the top by voting left and “present,” does not want to make any choices.  In this situation, it does not matter whether Pres. Obama is a talented speechmaker.  Having a generic plan to do everything at once, but no specific plan to address anything, not even on the most pressing issues of the day, is not likely to convince the financial markets or Congress that Obama knows what he is doing.

—–

Update: Sen. Conrad expects federal deficit spending will be about $1.6 trillion greater over the next ten years than Pres. Obama’s budget plan forecasts.  Conrad said he did not plan to include any instructions in the budget plan he is crafting for healthcare or greenhouse gas initiatives.

Update x2: Robert Reich writes: “The president cannot afford to lose the public’s confidence that his administration is a careful steward of the public’s money. The public was willing to go along with a large stimulus package. But it won’t go along with a second stimulus, and certainly not another TARP. And until the public feels confident that its money isn’t being thrown down a rat hole, it may balk at other ambitious undertakings such as healthcare or education or the environment.” (via Allahpundit.)

–Karl

Treacher on Obama’s Special Olympics Joke

Filed under: Humor — Patterico @ 7:09 am

Treacher has Obama’s other Tonight Show jokes.

These were coming up one at a time on Twitter last night. It was a sight to behold.

Obama’s Special Olympics Remark in the L.A. Times: A Whisper at the Tail End of a Piece by a TV Critic

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:19 am

Obama’s “Special Olympics” remark is showing up in the L.A. Times . . . in a piece by a television critic:

Even in the annals of media, President Obama’s appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Thursday night isn’t likely to be remembered as a watershed moment.

And in the short run — well, a run whose distance is yet impossible to measure — it is liable to be most newsworthy for a remark made in a clumsy attempt at humor. More on that later.

Yeah. Much, much much later.

In fact, the line appears in the 14th paragraph of a 16-paragraph article.

Again, in a piece by a television critic.

This has got to be a joke. This is amazing even for this paper.

Maybe there’s another mention in another story. I can’t tell by using their crappy search engine. If there is, let me know. This is the only reference I see right now.

This is like when Jeremiah Wright said “God damn America” and the paper wrote a story about the Wright controversy without even mentioning those words.

Can you imagine the coverage that George Bush would have gotten if he had uttered a remark like Obama uttered last night?

Now, I said last night: this comment was stupid, it was in poor taste, and it showed a tin ear. But it was not OUTRAGEOUS. Clearly, Obama meant to mock himself. The fact that he mocked Special Olympics participants was not intentional — just thoughtless and idiotic. And not very articulate.

Still. Had Bush done this, it would have been on the front page.

And instead they bury it in the 14th paragraph of 16, in a piece by a television critic.

The bias is pretty clear. If you can’t see it, poke your eyeballs out and get better ones.

UPDATE: After I wrote this post, a separate story appeared that was wholly devoted to Obama’s “Tonight Show” appearance. The ‘Special Olympics” comment merited a “by the way” mention in paragraph 22 of 39. This only reinforces my conclusions.


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