Patterico's Pontifications


Sockpuppet Friday (Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas edition)

Filed under: General — Karl @ 2:47 pm

[Posted by Karl]

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sockpuppetry in this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads. I have made that mistake myself.

Sockpuppet comments about the Republican primary race are strictly prohibited. If you wish to use sockpuppets for that purpose, confine your comments to this thread. Same goes for any discussion that is not funny where people want to get angry at each other. Offending comments will be summarily deleted and the violators flogged.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.

Jodi Kantor, who writes for rome wingnut rag called The New York Times, also wrote a book about The Obamas. NRO’s Jim Geraghty has been excerpting choice bits, including this nugget about the Sun King losing faith in his subjects:

Later in the first term, there were points where the American public seemed to be giving up on Barack Obama. But the relationship went both ways, and there were many times the president seemed to be giving up on the public, too, convinced Americans would never understand his point of view…

…Being in the White House seemed to intensify one of his best traits, his natural seriousness, along with one of his worst, his conviction that he was more serious than anyone else. There was a gap between the way Obama consumed information — in orderly, high-level briefings — and the way nearly everyone else in the country did, and it could often turn him derisive.

Geraghty then shows that at times, Obama has seemed quite incorrect in his assessment of how other Americans consume information, perhaps because Obama seems to consume his from MSNBC.  Next up, the president’s trip to Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize:

But amid the bad news and pressures of late 2009, the trip unexpectedly passed like a brief, happy fantasy for the president, a Nordic alternate reality where citizens were learned and pensive, discussions were thoughtful, and everyone was a fan. “It wasn’t hero worship,” said one adviser who accompanied them. “Okay, it was.”

For one day, the Obamas lived in the dream version of his presidency instead of the depressing reality. At meals and receptions, they mingled with the members of the Royal Academy — government officials, academics . . .

[In his speech, the president] laid out standards that he privately must have known he would not reach. “The United States of America must remain a standard-bearer in the conduct of war,” he said. “That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions.” He did not acknowledge that the effort to close Guantanamo was failing or ddress the questions of whether his detention policies violated those guidelines. “We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals we fight to defend,” he said. It was as if he had pressed some sort of rewind button to 2008.

The trip spurred a thought the Obamas and their friends would voice to each other again and again as the president’s popularity continued to decline: the American public just did not appreciate their exceptional leader. The president “could get 70 or 80 percent of the vote anywhere but the U.S.” [President Obama’s old friend] Marty Nesbitt told [another old friend of Obama] Eric Whitaker indignantly. (Emphases added)

Again, a mixture of hubris and a failure to spot the gap between that hubris and the reality of his polices.  In fact, it’s even worse than the book suggests.  According to Gallup, U.S. leadership had a 49% approval rate in Europe in 2009 — a marked improvement over the final Bush years, but 49% was approximately Obama’s low mark for approval in America.

Lastly, Obama’s assessment of his political skills:

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

This would go a long way toward explaining the frequent tone-deafness of the Obama administration.  A secure leader tries to surround himself or herself with people who are as smart or smarter than they are who will challenge them.  Instead, Obama’s post-presidency may feature a staging of “Barry, Get Your Teleprompter.”


43 Responses to “Sockpuppet Friday (Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas edition)”

  1. If it looks, smells and gets on your shoes like cow manure, it sure in hell probably is cow manure.

    Harry S. Truman (255b30)

  2. How large are buns made?

    President Zippy Chow (721840)

  3. Obama is stuttering clusterf**k of a miserable failure.

    Ace (403dff)

  4. Mitt, they are stupid, how do you think Obama got the nomination rather than my gal Hilary?

    Ragin' cajin Carville (a1fcca)

  5. I promise you the President has a big stick, I’ve seen it in the WH washroom.

    VP Biden (a1fcca)

  6. The president “could get 70 or 80 percent of the vote anywhere but the U.S.” [President Obama’s old friend] Marty Nesbitt told [another old friend of Obama] Eric Whitaker indignantly. (Emphases added)

    They think that, but it’s quite obviously not true. Just as in the US, people in other countries like the idea of Obama. As long as they don’t have to have the reality of him, he’s quite popular.
    If it were true, there would be an Obama on the international scene. There isn’t, because nobody else really wants someone like him.

    MayBee (e3ac46)

  7. It really is the teleprompter, stupid.

    NBA fan - NotBlindAudience (465b58)

  8. Racists

    JD (abb177)

  9. Can’t wait for the “more in sorrow than in anger” part.

    mojo (8096f2)

  10. and the truth be told
    there’s not one job that “0” thinks
    he can’t excel at

    Colonel Haiku (65290e)

  11. I don’t care what any of you think, I’m heading down to the pond to gaze upon the most beautiful visage I have ever seen.

    Narcissus (4d72aa)

  12. @ Col Haiku: and the humorous thing is that we’ve yet to find anything useful he does excel at.

    after all, spending money and being a douchebag are not the most marketable skills in the world, unless someone is casting a new reality series to go up against Jersey Shore.

    redc1c4 (403dff)

  13. During the “transition period” between election day 2008 and inauguration day 2009, or shortly thereafter, I recall reading in some MSM source something to the effect that Team Obama had spent vastly more time choosing and vetting prospective members of the POTUS-elect’s domestic policy team than his foreign/defense/security policy team. And I recall there being some confident (to my eyes, smug) comment to the general effect (my weak paraphrase from fuzzy memory) that “the Boss [Obama] is very confident that he has a good handle on the foreign policy stuff and won’t be needing so much input from those advisors, because that’s the easy part of the job.”

    Does anyone else recall this? By wild chance, does anyone have a link? I haven’t been able to find it despite my flailing and impatient attempts with Google and Bing.

    Beldar (a3158b)

  14. (Sorry, that was neither funny nor sock-puppeted.)

    Beldar (a3158b)

  15. Hell, Barack could get 110% of the vote in some countries.

    Idi Amin Dda (bf8ad7)

  16. (Or at least not “funny-ha-ha.” Maybe “funny-isn’t-it-that-the-most-powerful-man-in-the-world-is-an-arrogant-idiot-ha-ha-cough-sputter.”)

    Beldar (a3158b)

  17. No, Beldar, but there is a funny side: Nearly every single one of that domestic brain trust has since left the Administration or been discarded.

    Except for the tax cheat, of course, who wasn’t so carefully vetted.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  18. As I always told my old friends Lyndon Johnson and Jack Kennedy: The good thing about the dead of Duval County, Texas, is that they can be counted on to vote the correct ticket, with identical handwriting in the ink of a single pen on all precinct’s sign-in sheets, in alphabetical order, very promptly after we’ve confirmed just how many votes we’re behind once the other side’s votes are already all reported.

    George Parr (a3158b)

  19. “smug” doesn’t capture
    narcissism on display
    near insanity

    Colonel Haiku (65290e)

  20. Obama has the Bohemian Grove vote locked up.


    Sleestak (3681c4)

  21. We love the Bamster. Fact of the matter is we get up four or five times each election day to go vote for him.

    Chicago Cemetery Citizens (dc4fc0)

  22. Guantanamo didn’t close? Nobody tells me nothing.

    happy feets (49dba0)

  23. So I took a nice vacation to Spain without BuhRock. Don’t all wives go on vacation without their stinky husbands? I’m not sacrificing anything.

    Meechelle (49dba0)

  24. That is some hubrisy hubris.

    Beldar im going to look for that info. My interest is piqued.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  25. Well no one I know, cared about Cass Susstein, they
    did what?

    orrin hatch. (8d0f34)

  26. My barber says the dems are fleeing Obama.

    Don King (44de53)

  27. I couldn’t locate any of Barack Obama’s alleged former girlfriends. I don’t understand why they’re so difficult to locate.

    Normally, when a biography of a President is written, there are all sorts of former prom dates and girlfriends who are flattered to be interviewed for a book. At the very least, they’re eager to volunteer their time for a little interview so that they can show off the passages that include their name and anecdote(s) to their friends, colleagues, and family members for the rest of their lives…”Here’s the part where I went to the prom with a future President !” or “I was the one who helped him study for his law school entrance exams !” and so forth.

    But I just couldn’t locate any of these alleged women when I was doing research on Obama.

    It’s almost as if I were trying to locate former girlfriends of Barney Frank or Liberace !

    Jodi Kantor, author (0ae97d)

  28. Marrying a sasquatch-not gay.

    Obama (ea1809)

  29. Hey, I just got done reading “Dreams from my Father,” and “Fugitive Days.”

    I noticed there are a lot of striking similarities in the sentence structure, writing style, and use of what I’ll refer to as “nautical” metaphors (sea, ocean, current, storm, wind, tide, harbor, etc) in each of the two books. Also, each book contained the same misspellings of names and places of obscure poets, activists, and foreign cities.

    As far as the “nautical” metaphors are concerned, I do know that Bill Ayres spent a couple years in the Merchant Marines. But Obama used all of the same nautical metaphors and references to the sea that Ayres used—but Obama never really uses any of those same metaphors in his writings before, nor since !

    Wow, that’s pretty coincidental !

    Oh well, it would appear that perhaps Obama generously helped out a struggling writer such as Ayres with his book, but then again, I was told that Ayres was “just a guy in the neighborhood,” and “not someone that Obama hangs out with,” so I’ll just chalk up all the coincidences to….coincidence !

    Anyhow, I can’t devote any more time to this topic. I have a hot deadline that I have to meet…it’s a story on whether or not Mitt Romney’s college roommate helped Mitt prepare for a calculus exam during a group study session during sophomore year at BYU. I plan to conduct a three hour interview with the now ninety year old math professor who is currently a resident at a retirement hotel in Provo, Utah, as well as conduct a thorough examination of all of Romney’s college transcripts !

    No stone will remain unturned !

    Anonymous Liberal Mainstream Journalist (0ae97d)

  30. Also-need to interview Mareco Rubio’s pizza delivery guy, Paul Ryan’s childhood paper route customers, and review Rand Paul’s opthomalogy medical boards.

    As to whether Obama was in the pews during any of loony Wright’s insane sermons(hope not, nothceking it out), what exactly Obama accomplished in Illinois(looks a little thin!still a desperate slum), whether the academically-challenged teen Obama got into college and law school as Barry Sotero, Indonesian exchange student(FINGERS IN EARs, I CANNOT HEAR YOU!), how Jack Ryan’s sealed divorce records got unsealed(SEE NO EVIL) or what passport young Obama used to enter Pakistan(might it have been as Barry Sotero, Indonesian, since the State Department banned Americans from traveling there in the wake of the Zia coup-DON’T CARE!) and how he paid all that travel bill-not interested.

    Also, Obama is pretty bad at this president thing. Best I keep that quiet.

    LMJ Person (ea1809)

  31. Dear LMJ Person,

    Who is this Reverend Wright that you speak of ? And what’s all the talk about this Jack Ryan’s divorce records allegedly being unsealed ? Is that an episode synopsis from “24” ?

    By the way, the outlet I work for already found a person who claims that when Paul Ryan (not to be confused with the aforementioned Jack Ryan) was a twelve year old paper boy, on one occasion, he threw the paper into the bushes of a paying customer. That customer is a legitimate source, because he’s the current President of the local AFL-CIO chapter, there in the Janesville, Wisconsin area. He has no motive to lie about such an allegation.

    Thanks for the tips, and keep up the good fight against these evil Republicans journalistic integrity !

    Anonymous Liberal Mainstream Journalist (0ae97d)

  32. I like how barry’s
    really really slow jamming
    closing of Gitm0

    Colonel Haiku (65290e)

  33. “I know more about policies in all of the 57 states than my policy directors. But, you are hired.”

    Carnival Barker (348a4e)

  34. One ton of metal,
    Why he load one ton of metal?

    I miss ksirlik.

    nk (875f57)

  35. More things change, the more they’re changed for the benefit of parasites:

    You know you own only 1/10th of the cells in your body. And de bank holds da title.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  36. on economy
    he ain’t cool he’s the cooler
    no job growth no peace!

    Colonel Haiku (cf531c)

  37. Does anyone else recall this? By wild chance, does anyone have a link? I haven’t been able to find it despite my flailing and impatient attempts with Google and Bing.

    Comment by Beldar — 4/27/2012 @ 3:33 pm

    I had no luck finding anything on Team Obama claiming he needed less help on foreign policy. Complaints / comments on the transition included the high-profile withdrawals ( Daschle, Killefer, and Bill Richardson ), the largest number of Harvard Crimson since JFK, and later in the summer lefties like Jonathan Alter and Kos were complaining how hawkish the foreign policy types were.

    Worth noting that he still has his transition team website live:

    Good luck.

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  38. Sloe Joe says I have ‘a big stick’. I carry it so that it doesn’t drag on the ground.

    Barack Mandingo Obama (6e8a1d)

  39. Its a shame, Karl, that you put such a great piece into the sockpuppet thread.

    I think its resulted in the very insightful observations you’ve quoted and made being given less attention than they deserve.

    SPQR (26be8b)

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