Patterico's Pontifications

4/6/2011

Obama ‘12 And The Attack On Idealism

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 6:01 am



[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

Barack Obama announced his reelection campaign. He plans to raise one billion dollars. I don’t think he will win and beyond that, based on the successful cynicism that got him elected in the first place I hope he doesn’t win.

Yes, the Republicans could screw this up but if they nominate somebody who has any appeal at all to independent voters, Obama is a one term president. My reasons for believing this go beyond any discussion of ideology or policy. President Obama has deflated his once passionate base by revealing that Candidate Obama was a will-o’-the-wisp; a husk that was conjured up to win the vote and discarded the day after the election.

When I say that this goes beyond ideology, I mean this is a mistake that could have happened to anyone from any part of the ideological spectrum. Some of you may argue Obama is a socialist, Communist, fascist but I think you’re actually giving him way too much credit – he’s an opportunist. In practice, he’s even more of a pragmatist than Nixon was. People can accept presidential pragmatists and even reelect them. What they won’t do, I believe, is reelect a pragmatist who they elected because they thought he was an idealist and a reformer — particularly a pragmatist whose practical results have been fairly dismal. There’s something very compelling about a leader who shows vision and it almost doesn’t matter what that vision is.

This is the thing that I think most scares the political establishment – both Democratic and Republican – about the Tea Party. They seem to mean what they say. They seem to have an actual reform agenda that they actually plan to stick to. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be some compromise along the way but the Tea Party has shown they are keeping their eyes on the prize… which implies that they believe there is a prize.

The attacks on the Tea Party by the White House, the Democratic Party and a complicit press corps are not just about ideology; they are about attacking idealism. They are attacking the very notion of holding a consistent viewpoint and fighting for it. That’s why there’s a drumbeat against "extremism" without ever defining exactly what that extremism is. Having abandoned ideals, the Democrats need to mock, ridicule and destroy the very concept of idealism itself.

It’s the most nihilistic political move one can imagine.

How is Obama playing with his own base? Look at how MSNBC / The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur responds to Barack Obama’s first 2012 campaign commercial. If you’re not a liberal, try to set aside for a moment any ideological differences you may have with Cenk and just focus on how bleak, cynical but realistic his assessment is.

The money quote there is…

Actually do things you believe in…if there are, in fact,things you believe in.

This is a point that I touched on about a year and a half ago when I announced I would no longer be able to support Barack Obama – I simply didn’t know what he stood for. Nothing’s happened in his presidency that clarifies that for me yet either.

Here’s the video I made in January, 2010.

 

I’m not saying that Obama won’t get most of the Democratic vote. He clearly will. However, he can’t count on a fired-up vote — and if this is the way part of his liberal base is feeling, then he has absolutely no hope with independent voters.

– Lee Stranahan

46 Responses to “Obama ‘12 And The Attack On Idealism”

  1. …if [Republicans] nominate somebody who has any appeal at all to independent voters, Obama is a one term president.

    That is the biggest if in the world. It should be boldfaced and set in 90-point type. Who among current potential candidates might be such a person?

    Eric Berlin (51df0e)

  2. They [the Tea Party}] seem to mean what they say. They seem to have an actual reform agenda that they actually plan to stick to.

    Sorry, I don’t see it. The Tea Party strikes me as a mass of people who are angry, but that anger is directed in about a thousand directions.

    Where does the Tea Party stand, for example, on the Ryan budget that would do away with Medicare as we know it?

    However, he can’t count on a fired-up vote — and if this is the way part of his liberal base is feeling, then he has absolutely no hope with independent voters.

    I think much of that will ultimately depend on the Republican candidate. A nominee, if abhorrent enough to the liberals and independents, could ignite frenzied approval for Obama.

    Kman (5576bf)

  3. Obama is not about idealism, some of his supporters may be, recall how he got into office, the first time, by disqualifying the signature of all his opponents, then in the Senate, having sealed divorced records of his primary opponents, in each party released, Now he doesn’t ‘dirty’ himself with
    the details, hence the implementation of certain
    transformational strategies

    narciso (b545d5)

  4. Kman

    as opposed to the focus of your average liberal protest…

    end war… and racism… and capitalism… and my body my choice… but i want a government takeover of healthcare… i should be free to do whatever i want as long as i don’t hurt anyone else… unless it is smoking in a public place, accepting below minimum wage or refusing to join a union… and save the environment… and free tibet… and save darfor… no free speech for corporations… except the NYT, WAPO, NBC, CNN… yeah, they are a model of focus.

    you can’t gather millions of people under one banner without some disagreements about particulars. but the tea party does seem pretty consistent in the basics:

    1) we need to get control of our debt, not just our deficit.

    2) keep taxes low.

    3) obamacare sucks.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  5. Great post, Lee.

    Andy (6c7df8)

  6. What we can’t be doing is using last year’s budget process to have arguments about abortion; to have arguments about the Environmental Protection Agency; to try to use this budget negotiation as a vehicle for every ideological or political difference between the two parties. That’s what the legislature is for, is to have those arguments, but not stuff it all into one budget bill.”

    All of Pres**ent Obama’s political achievements are based on the “outstanding leadership” of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That said. the woman is obviously mentally challenged, so for Obama to beat this poor pathetic idiot like a little boy in the midst of a plethora of pinatas is just despicable.

    Rodan (03e5c2)

  7. I bet I have the coolest IP address today 😉

    JD (3ee1ee)

  8. AW(#4):

    No, that’s the Republican party you’ve got there.

    Kman (5576bf)

  9. EXTREMISTS !!!!!!!!!!

    JD (3ee1ee)

  10. ==Sorry, I don’t see it. The Tea Party strikes me as a mass of people==

    For once, an honest statement from the Kman. He doesn’t see it. Well, duh. He never sees it. The question as always is, whether he does not “see it” purely on the basis of hisownself’s lack of reasoning and observational prowess– or whether he is lazily, yet dishonestly and knowingly, passing on the sheepy mantra of the organized attacks of the tea party constantly being made by the usual suspects (as Lee described).

    elissa (907483)

  11. 1) we need to get control of our debt, not just our deficit.

    2) keep taxes low.

    3) obamacare sucks.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing — 4/6/2011 @ 6:42 am

    That’s a negative vision, Aaron–diagnosing what’s wrong with our country at the moment. At best, that motivates people not to vote for Obama.

    So far, they haven’t actually offered a positive vision: a positive future and how to get there; only repeated cliches about American exceptionalism and the power of the free market. But nothing that would actually motivate people to vote for Obama’s opponent, whomever that turns out to be.

    And, speaking of positive vision:
    http://gertsamtkunstwerk.typepad.co.uk/weblog/2011/04/pre-match-entertainment-for-the-attention-deficit.html

    Save it as an antidote for the next time someone butchers the National Anthem in public

    kishnevi (8ee8e9)

  12. BTW, he’s 70, and still sounding better than people half his age.

    kishnevi (827a72)

  13. Obama Loses Nobel Peace Prize!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWmVKnYFodg
    After so much vigorous debate over President Obama’s worthiness to even receive the Nobel Peace Prize so early in his presidential career, his surge in Afghanistan and now his latest actions in Libya, many have been calling for President Obama to return his Nobel Peace Prize now. Previous responses from the President made it clear he was not going to return the Nobel. It seems however there was only one very special person who was able to convince President Obama to relinquish his Nobel Peace Prize.

    Toon The News (12bbf4)

  14. Well, Lee, I’m glad to see that you realize the Empty Suit(tm) is a fraud.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. I wish Kman would move to Venezuela he’d like it there.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  16. All that’s missing from the Obama ad is “Can you carry my golf bags for me ?”

    Rodan (03e5c2)

  17. Kman will do it for you Omoron.

    Will the Paul Ryan budget plan really do away with medicare or is Kman on some wacky tobaccy?

    DohBiden (984d23)

  18. I just can’t wait to vote Pres**ent Obama.
    In a second term we can all lay back and get stoned every day … at the White House

    MIKE in New York (03e5c2)

  19. The Ryan budget will do away with Medicare “as we know it,” according to Kman.

    Yet most of us know it as a deduction from our paychecks, and I don’t see a change in that.

    What changes is the Feds giving the states block grants to disburse on their own. Put the decision-making closer to the endpoint, but…

    Dan S (b5ccb6)

  20. Obama For President: In 2008, I voted “Present.” .. In 2012, I’m voting “Absent.”

    excuse em while I tee off … could you hold my bag

    Barry (03e5c2)

  21. kish

    given the situation we are in, what you call negative is necessary and important.

    and i see “vision” in the idea of a nation that is not on the road to fiscal ruin.

    when there are very serious problems, you need problem solvers.

    hey, look if you want to say that the tea party might break up the moment the debt is eliminated, or at least down to reasonable proportions again… agreed. but that is just a product of focus. they have a goal and they are working toward it.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  22. Actually do things you believe in…if there are, in fact, things you believe in.

    Not in circumstances to watch the video, but the quote is telling. I’m more a Tea Party type than a liberal. We have been forced to ask ourselves what we believe, as we watched rights and opportunity being whittled away over time.

    I think I see some liberals around me asking themselves the same questions, recently. When beliefs are not challenged, when your icons shine brilliantly, when it’s cheap and easy – well, then beliefs in just about anything thrive.

    Øbama the icon is tarnished, and little is cheap or easy these days. Sure, I’d like questioning libs to agree with me, because I really am alarmed about the future of the US. But I’d be almost as happy to have reasoned and thoughtful political opponents who have serious beliefs. For either or both parties to be composed of cookie-cutter people easily led by a pied-piper is disastrous for the country.

    The 2008 Pres. campaign was one of the most cynically manipulative things I have ever seen, and I was aghast at its effectiveness.

    jodetoad (7720fb)

  23. “Yes, the Republicans could screw this up but if they nominate somebody who has any appeal at all to independent voters, Obama is a one term president.”

    There is so much unpredictable sh!t that’s going to happen in the next 18 months, that projection is worthless.

    gp (72be5d)

  24. There is so much unpredictable sh!t that’s going to happen in the next 18 months, that projection is worthless.

    gp wins.

    Kman (5576bf)

  25. Paul Ryan’s budget cuts also takes away Rosie O’donnell’s spoons.

    /Sarc

    DohBiden (984d23)

  26. ‘the horror, the horror’

    narciso (b545d5)

  27. DohBiden, the summary of the Ryan plan is at this location.

    About Medicare, it says:

    New Medicare Program. Establishes a new Medicare Program – applicable for beneficiaries eligible on or after 1 January 2021 – transitioning to a program in which Medicare beneficiaries receive standard payments to pay for their health care coverage.

    ▫ Eligibility for Payment. Makes Medicare beneficiaries eligible for payments by enrolling in a health insurance plan. Pays the amount in each case directly to the health plan designated by the beneficiary (similar to the mechanics of the administration of the health care tax credit), with the beneficiary receiving any leftover amount as a refund payment from the health insurance plan, or assuming financial responsibility for any difference between the payment and the total cost of the premium.

    ▫ Medicare Payment. For beneficiaries first becoming eligible on or after
    1 January 2021, creates a standard Medicare payment to be used for the purchase of private-sector health coverage.

    – Payment Amount. Standard payment is the average amount Medicare currently spends per beneficiary, and is indexed for inflation by the projected average of the consumer price index and the medical economic index. For affected beneficiaries, the payment replaces all components of the current Medicare program (Medicare Part A fee-for-service, Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D).

    – Risk and Geographical Adjustments. Payment amounts are risk-adjusted and partially geographically adjusted, with the geographic adjustment phasing out over time. Medicare beneficiaries received the standard amount once they enroll for the benefit, with the flexibility to receive a positive adjustment of that amount based on a risk-assessment from their chosen health plan.

    – Income-Relating. Payment amount is modified based on income, in a manner similar to that for current Medicare Part B premiums subsidies. Specifically: beneficiaries with incomes below $80,000 ($160,000 for couples) receive the full standard payment amount; beneficiaries with annual incomes between $80,000 and $200,000 ($160,000 to $400,000 for couples) receive 50 percent of the standard amount; beneficiaries with incomes above $200,000 ($400,000 for couples) receive 30 percent.

    ▫ Extra Support for Low-Income Beneficiaries. Establishes and funds Medical Savings Accounts [MSAs] for low-income beneficiaries. (Current law allows any Medicare beneficiary to set up a tax-free MSA; the reform proposal provides the additional support for low-income beneficiaries.)

    – Dual-Eligibles and Incomes Below 100 Percent of Poverty. For those fully “dual eligible” (eligible under current policies for both Medicare and Medicaid), and beneficiaries with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty level, an MSA subsidy is provided equaling the full deductible amount of an average high-deductible health plan.

    – Incomes Between 100 Percent and 150 Percent of Poverty. Those with incomes between 100 percent and 150 percent of poverty receive
    75 percent of the full deposit.

    ▫ Retention of Existing Program. Retains current Medicare Program for those eligible prior to 1 January 2021. Premiums for Part A, Part B, and Part D are not affected by the phasing of the younger population into the new program. Strengthens the current program with changes such as income-relating drug benefit premiums to ensure long-term sustainability.

    ▫ Continuation of Medicare Financing at Current Tax Rates. Retains the Medicare payroll tax of 2.9 percent of the FICA and Self-Employed Contributions Act [SECA] payroll tax, as is the case now.

    I read this as effectively outsourcing Medicare to private insurers who will be paid by the federal government instead of individuals. I don’t think this will work; I think the federal payment will remain the same but the cost of insurance will go up, and the result will be that a lot of poor old people won’t be able to afford insurance at all.

    aphrael (9802d6)

  28. what’s super-fun is that our little country is entering a post-obama-f*cked era where policies informed by idealism are indistinguishable from policies solely informed by pragmatism

    This is what happens when you squander your options.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  29. Paul Ryan will be accused of hating the elderly and wanting them to eat sand.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  30. aphrael, if the Federal government does not lard up the program with excessive requirements for the plans, I think it will see the market meet the need with tailored HMO style plans. However, I don’t see Congress resisting the urge to require coverage of every treatment that can afford to hire a lobbyist.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  31. o may pick up the PGA vote.

    Jim (844377)

  32. There is certainly no good reason for Democrats to vote for him, as his policies have done the greatest harm to the very people they claim to represent.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. Lee – I still have a hard time understanding the liberal refrain that ObamaCare is a sell out to the insurance companies. It makes no sense.

    Insurance companies have no desire to have the minimum terms of their coverage dictate by a bunch of government bureaucrats at the same time another group of bureaucrats are telling them they have to produce a maximum loss ratio of 80% or 85% or refund the difference to policy holders, while another group of bureaucrats is scrutinizing every proposal for a price increase with a fine tooth comb.

    Sorry, the sell out narrative just does not compute.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  34. I think Obama wins. The economy is slowly improving and if that continues, he’ll say he did it and now he needs to keep it going. Even if his negatives are high next year, I think the Reid victory in NV is sort of a blueprint for how he’ll win which is to drive up the opponent’s negatives. Remember one thing Reid did was say Angle wants to cut social security.

    On energy he’ll just lie through his teeth. No matter how the price gets, he’ll say he’s pro oil drilling.

    He’ll also lie and say he’s going to cut spending.

    The only way to counter lies really is pretty much to come out and call him the liar a liar but the Pubbie won’t do it.

    Gerald A (8e99c8)

  35. the Pubbie won’t do it.

    You obviously remember Mccain in 2008. If we nominate a candidate who won’t call Obama a liar, we probably will lose.

    I’d love a ‘show of hands’ question at the debate asking candidates if they contend Obama is a liar.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  36. Wait! Back up here a second!!

    So,Paul Ryan’s Plan is to have the government subsidize EVERYONE’S medical Insurance? What gives here?

    Income-Relating. Payment amount is modified based on income, in a manner similar to that for current Medicare Part B premiums subsidies. Specifically: beneficiaries with incomes below $80,000 ($160,000 for couples) receive the full standard payment amount; beneficiaries with annual incomes between $80,000 and $200,000 ($160,000 to $400,000 for couples) receive 50 percent of the standard amount; beneficiaries with incomes above $200,000 ($400,000 for couples) receive 30 percent

    (bold is mine)

    What gives here? Is the whole country supposed to go on Medicare?

    flicka47 (116346)

  37. As of now, Obama would win for the same reason he was elected. Namely, weak opposition. Romney, Huckabee, and Gingrich are confirmed losers. Palin would be viciously attacked non-stop and I don’t think she is strong enough to overcome it.

    DN (e13e38)

  38. Here is one former life long dem who’s vote he won’t get. he didn’t get it the first time either. No longer a registered democrat. Thankfully all those millions of Democrats for McCain/Palin never went back either, even though they are still registered dems they have not voted Dem in 2 years. Their numbers have multiplied more than anyone wants to know.
    Ever notice no one mentioned that group since the election 2008? Oh yeah, we are still here and still not voting Democrat :) This gives Elected Dems and the left nightmares

    former Dem (279299)

  39. As of now, Obama would win for the same reason he was elected. Namely, weak opposition. Romney, Huckabee, and Gingrich are confirmed losers. Palin would be viciously attacked non-stop and I don’t think she is strong enough to overcome it.

    Would not any opposition candidate be viciously attacked non-stop? Is that not standard during presidential re-election campaigns, like it was eight years ago?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  40. __________________________________________

    In practice, he’s even more of a pragmatist than Nixon was.

    The only area that I can see where Obama has quelled his leftist desires — or been forced to be a pragmatist — is regarding Guantanamo.

    BTW, Nixon, while vilified by the left — probably because of his vocal denunciation of liberals, referring to his using the label “liberal” in a clearly negative way, particularly in the 1950s, but even later on — was very, very squishy on a host of socio-political issues. I don’t think I’m being too flip when I theorize his oddly rootless ideology may even be where his dysfunctional qualities originated.

    Mark (411533)

  41. “You want everybody to act like adults, quit playing games and realize it is not my way or the highway,” President Obama said in Pennsylvania

    Coming from “The Won”, it almost makes you snort your drink up your nose

    Barry (03e5c2)

  42. The idealism liberals find so distasteful is moral absolutism as opposed to moral relativism. The tea party leaders, such as they are, never use the terms but the moral dimension of our growing debt has lately been in the news, even old quotes from obama. Schumer and the rest of the dems like to characterize moral absolutists as extremists and radicals prone to violence or at least cruel indifference.

    dunce (b89258)

  43. daleyrocks, some of the bigger insurance companies are happy to just become tax farmers for the Federal government.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  44. “So,Paul Ryan’s Plan is to have the government subsidize EVERYONE’S medical Insurance? What gives here?”

    flicka47 – Right now Medicare is not means tested. Ryan’s Plan is to make it means tested for people who become eligible after a certain date in the future. The idea is not to put everybody under age 65 on Medicare.

    These are not hard concepts.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  45. Are any of the prospective GOP nominees strong enough to overcome being viciously attacked nonstop? Obama is going to be able to outspend his opponent without counting his media support.

    DN (d1a4f3)

  46. “Obama would win for the same reason he was elected. Namely, weak opposition.” There were other reasons as well: the Sep 2008 financial panic, the in-the-bag press, the cult of personality, and the expiation of American racial guilt were also factors. Possibly BHO won’t have those four things to count on anymore in 2012.

    gp (bf584f)


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