Patterico's Pontifications

12/9/2010

The President Demonstrates His Tact, Again

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:26 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

The other day, I mentioned how Obama compared the Congressional Republicans to terrorists and suggested that this lacked a certain amount of tact.  One commenter defended those remarks by saying “[l]ook, he has an angry base to pacify. He is using the best kind of rhetoric to win them over.”  In other words, him being an un-presidential d—k about it was a calculated political move.

But that theory really doesn’t hold up when you also see him being condescending toward his angry base:

The president admitted to supporters that right now there is a “healthy” debate going on about the details of the compromise and used the call to defend his decisions to compromise yet again.

“I know that there’s some folks who are angry about it,” he said. “They are confused about the extensions on the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and there are policy and political objections. Some people are saying, ‘Well, did we fight hard enough for our position? Did we position ourselves properly on this?’”

The president said the bottom line is the votes weren’t there.

“We put up the best and smartest fight that we could under the circumstances. That means without 60 votes in the Senate,” the president said, “not a single Republican would support our position in the Senate, and as a consequence we could not get the 60 vote we needed to overcome their filibuster.”

You got that, liberals?  You’re not thinking clearly.  You are confused.  You aren’t actually smart enough to have an informed opinion.  So just shut up and let Uncle Barry handle things for you.

Pretty condescending, huh?  Well, welcome to our world.  It’s a crowded place.

And it’s really hard to see the political advantage.  I mean, the correct phrase is “I respectfully disagree, and here, let me make my case…”  Or something else that says, “yes, we are disagreeing on tactics here, but I recognize that this disagreement is in good faith.”  But the narcissist-in-chief is incapable of being so tolerant of disagreement.

Certainly, similar condescension fed Keith Olbermann’s anger which led him  (with a rhetorical wink-and-a-nod) to compare Republicans to Nazis and Obama to Neville Chamberlain (wait, so liberals are opposed to appeasement now?):

Yesterday I had an exchange with a very Senior member of this Administration who wanted to sell me on this deal. I pointed out that that was fine, except that — as I phrased it to him — “frankly the base has just vanished.” “Well,” he replied, “then they must not have read the details.” There, in a nutshell, is this Administration. They didn’t make a bad deal — we just don’t understand it.

Just as it was our fault, Mr President, for not understanding your refusal of even the most perfunctory of investigations of rendition or domestic spying or the other crimes of the Bush Administration, or why you have now established for those future Administrations who want to repeat those crimes, that the punishment for them will be nothing.

Just as it was our fault, Mr. President, for not understanding Afghanistan. Just as we didn’t correctly perceive, Sir, the necessity for the continuation of Gitmo. Or how we failed to intuit, President Obama, your preemptive abandonment of Single Payer and the Public Option. Or how we couldn’t have foreseen your foot-dragging on “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Just as we shouldn’t have gotten you angry at your news conference today and made all the moderate Democrats wonder why in the hell you get publicly angry so often at the liberals who campaigned for you and whether you might save just a touch of that sarcasm and that self-martyrdom for the Republicans.

By the way, I think this means it is officially no longer racist to criticize the president.  So there is that.

And as for the Chamberlain bit, well here you go:

The Churchill quotation — as opposed to the quotation from the very Senior member of your Administration, Mr. President — is from October 5th, 1938.

I don’t want to make any true comparison to the historical event to which it related; the viewer can go ahead and look it up if they wish; I will confess I won’t fight if anybody wants to draw a comparison between what you’ve done with our domestic politics of our day, to what Neville Chamberlain did with the international politics of his.

And even while Alan Grayson liked the terrorism metaphor from the other day, it is clear from this exchange with Lawrence O’Donnell that he felt the President capitulated too easily.  The exchange is also fun because O’Donnell (who has previously stated that he was a socialist, but also knew realistically that Americans would not accept socialism), takes Grayson to task for his impracticality.  I may vehemently disagree with O’Donnell’s philosophy, but I kind of respect his realism and honesty about it.

So getting back to the politics, who exactly is pleased by all this?  Maybe he is hoping to appeal to some middle between the left and the Republican party and anyone who felt that raising taxes on anyone in the middle of the recession is a bad idea.  But even if he was making that calculus, how on Earth was it necessary to insult the Republicans and his liberal critics?  Couldn’t he have just as effectively disagreed with them without being disagreeable?

Unless it was part of a secret plan to unite liberals and conservatives in calling the President a putz for unnecessarily insulting them.  In which case, mission accomplished.

Hat tip: Hot Air.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

46 Responses to “The President Demonstrates His Tact, Again”

  1. You have to understand that criticizing Obama demonstrates your ignorance and lack of historical knowledge. For example, many of us did not know that Social Security began as a program for widows and orphans. We thought it began as Old Age Assistance and AFDC began as a program for widows and orphans. Obviously, we had to be ignorant because Obama is never wrong.

    I’m still looking for those 7 other states.

    Mike K (568408)

  2. I think I see an attempt at Clintonian triangulation here. Having described the GOP as a bunch of extremists/terrorists, he now describes the Democratic base as a bunch of impractical idealists who don’t know how to function politically. (And notice that by doing so he insults the GOP far more seriously than he insults his own base.)

    So now he can turn to the hallowed “Independents” and “centrists” and claim to be the only reasonable person in DC, and the only person actually looking after their interests.

    Stay tuned for the next installment of “Days of Our Government” and “As the Stomach Turns”.

    kishnevi (38f6c3)

  3. kish

    i don’t recall clinton comparing republicans to terrorists or being this condescending to the left. you can triangulate without being a jerk.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  4. Kishnevi’s key word is probably ‘attempt’.

    And I agree, Obama is probably trying to triangulate somehow, against the sanctimonious democrat party and the hostage murdering Rethuglikkkans.

    Suffice to say this is a failed attempt to appear to be the only reasonable person in DC.

    Bill Clinton was not me favorite president by any stretch, but he was a brilliant man and an experienced governor. Obama would barely qualify as Bill Clinton’s adviser, and should leave the complex strategies to those who have skills.

    Where I Obama I would be frank and keep it simple.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. ‘Were’, rather than ‘where’.

    I’m always finding novel ways to prove how great I am at typing.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  6. But that theory really doesn’t hold up when you also see him being condescending toward his angry base

    Condescending is something at which far-lefties are experts. LOL-for-the-day yesterday was from Alan Sorkin, throwing a tantrum on HuffPo about Palin’s hunting caribou:

    Like 95% of the people I know, I don’t have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt.

    The irony of course, lost on Mr. Sorkin, is that visceral (which the vast majority of adults of any political persuasion didn’t need to look up) comes from the same Latin as eviscerate, which is…what hunters do to their kills. Before eating them and making belts out of them. Heh.

    no one you know (325a59)

  7. NOYK

    regarding palin and caribougate, look, my wife is asian and in her culture they do alot of what i call “food with faces on it.” That is, they cook the whole animal and eat it, face and all.

    And call me a wimp, but it gives me the willies. I don’t want my food staring at me as i eat it, okay?

    But with that squeemishness, i equally recognize i am a giant hypocrite. Seriously. I never eat any vegetarian meals. I joke that i only eat things that have parents. But at the same time, i want it to be an anonymous slab of meat of unknown origin.

    And the difference between sorkin and myself is unlike him, he thinks there is a principle in his being squeemish. But there isn’t. He is causing just as much animal death as Palin, but she isn’t shy about looking it in the face. I share sorkin’s squeemishness, but i recognize it for the hypocrisy it is.

    So I won’t pick on her for shooting the carribou.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  8. Is it any surprise that a President who has such difficulty with a single-party Congress that his side owns, who cannot cut a break overseas even though he is was popular world-wide, and who cannot command public opinion given a sycophantic press cannot face even a bit of opposition without whinging?

    Triangulation, my ass. You need to be at least two-dimensional to triangulate.

    Kevin M (298030)

  9. given a sycophantic press

    IMO if he didn’t have this, his poll numbers would be significantly lower than they are.

    Thank goodness for the Internet. If not for that we would near next to nothing about things unflattering to him.

    no one you know (325a59)

  10. Gee thanks, Aaron Worthing.. 🙂

    The Emperor (d61748)

  11. Hey mum…. 🙂

    The Emperor (d61748)

  12. I think that it’s Obama’s narcissism. He’s used to getting praise (narcissistic revenue) from his base, when they criticize him it really stings. Narcissists don’t handle criticism well in any case, but he’s expecting it from the Right, part of the condescension the Left has for the Right is so that any criticisms can be dismissed (“their options don’t matter, I am still a good person”). Now that he’s getting from the Left, he’s using the same coping mechanism.

    Yeah, welcome to our world.

    LarryD (f22286)

  13. Well, the Democratic Caucus in the House just told Obama what they thought of his condescending attitude, eh?

    Not in office two years yet, and already a lame duck.

    SPQR (159590)

  14. This is what happens when the media’s rock star president begins to believe his own press.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  15. I love it when that obnoxious oaf Olberman chews on Obama. And Aaron, I’m glad someone watched Olberman so I don’t have to. There is a lot of comedy gold in Olberman’s pretentious perorations–but it is painful to watch.

    Mike Myers (0e06a9)

  16. Yes when both parties are against you, who do you run to? Ralph Nader! Get ready ladies and gentlemen as you witness the biggest moment in American political history. The Independents are taking over America!! We have an Independent President. They are already here! LOL!!

    The Emperor (d61748)

  17. The emperor

    you do know the independents are against him, right?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  18. All of Mr. Obama’s extensive community organizing skills are now on display.

    navyvet (db5856)

  19. We’d all admit it’s not above consideration that Axelrod might have orchestrated Dim furor at Dear Leader’s simulated ‘move to the center’.

    But Axel seems to be hooked on Oxy and unavailable for real work these days. That leaves little room for genius at work.

    As ever, don’t get cocky, the deal sucks. It’d be better to let the left smear legumes all over each other and go home for Xmas with nothing.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  20. You didn’t have to ruin that too did you, Aaron…? Hostage taker…

    The Emperor (d61748)

  21. But Aaron I need evidence of your assertion. In what way is he losing the Indies? I think in the end he will appeal more to the independents as a moderate and eventually his base will be pacified. They have to. The don’t have a better candidate. Obama is still largely popular. And pretty much likable. If in the long run the economy picks up, they would have won both his base and the independents. Add also that little percentage of Reps who don’t like paying taxes and you have a big coalition. My two cents..

    The Emperor (d61748)

  22. “In what way is he losing the Indies?”

    In proving to be a shiftless con-artist steeped in Marxist elitism and Chicago-machine thuggery.

    The few I know who ‘voted for a change’ won’t meet my eyes anymore unless I bring up their kids.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  23. emperor

    i can’t quite verify it, although you see is approval among independants is around 42% here. http://www.gallup.com/poll/124922/presidential-approval-center.aspx

    which is not quite what i was saying, but oh well.

    As for dems, they won’t primary obama for one simple reason. They will not want to risk the civil war that would break out if they took the nomination away from the first black president. all that racial bile they have been flinging at the conservatives would float right back on the dems. personally i would then buy some popcorn.

    Really, the only way he could be challenged is if he is challenged by another black man. it shouldn’t be that racial, but i believe it is.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  24. Aaron, he seems to be doing better among the moderates from the chat you linked… And better than Bush and Clinton post midterm crash.

    The Emperor (d61748)

  25. “They will not want to risk the civil war that would break out if they took the nomination away from the first black president.”

    Which putative ‘overriding fear’ assumes they’ll just file into the gas chambers to chords of “We Shall Overcome”.

    Will Beelzebub run without against all odds, on the shoulders of the CBC and SEIU? Bet not.

    gary gulrud (790d43)

  26. The idea that Barcky is or could be an independent is laughable, even for lovie.

    JD (eb5afc)

  27. Well Orzag actually fronted the tax stasis part, about a month ago.

    narciso (6075d0)

  28. I wonder when Teh One is going to call out the House Dems for taking the American people hostage, and trying to cause them harm by raising taxes on every single American.

    JD (822109)

  29. Better than Bush, who didn’t suffer a devastating loss in the House that will be in history books for hundreds of years.

    The truth is, Bush was quite unpopular in the later years of his presidency, but Obama’s lost popularity much faster and the only way out is economic recovery that drastically outperforms the White House’s own optimism.

    Then again, if you simply redefine moderates, it’s not that hard to make them say whatever you want them to.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  30. I think Obama’s “confused” about what he gets to call a “fight” without the rest of us laughing in his fucking face.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  31. “Visceral” + food = Pate

    Brooks (670314)

  32. Even I, a conservative, have to say that Obama could have stayed in his comfort zone (ie, leftism) — if only for tactical if not feel-good reasons — and tried to push a compromise where the upper limit of existing tax breaks would have been pushed from $250,000 to, say, $1 million. That he couldn’t deduce such a basic maneuver illustrates how inept he is. Then again, “goddamn America!”

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  33. President Obama is having a difficult month. It’s not surprising he is bitter, and that he’s clinging to his elite status and his antipathy to people who aren’t like him as a way to deal with his frustrations.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  34. DRJ – Today was a tough day for him. The Democratic House Caucus decides not to bring the tax compromise to the floor. Harry Reid blew the DADT vote. The DREAM Act got killed in the Senate. Icing on the cake, and continuing a theme from above, Big Government is eviscerating the Pigford II settlement.

    daleyrocks (c07dfa)

  35. But Obama did bribe the Senate late in the day to begin work on the tax compromise, so he’s got that going for him.

    daleyrocks (c07dfa)

  36. Nice wit, DRJ.

    Many predicted Obama would have a hard time coping with reduced power and divided government, but I didn’t think it would be this hard for him in the lame duck session. He’s going to have to make harder compromises on everything in 2011.

    We may see an unprecedented mental breakdown.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  37. That was very racist and bigoted, DRJ. And very funny. Denounced and condemned.

    JD (eb5afc)

  38. Dustin

    History will show that Bush’s popularity ratings were driven more by what he DIDNT do rather than in the case of Obama’s ratings for what he did do

    EricPWJohnson (5907f7)

  39. or rephrased Bush’s policies didnt go ar enough vs Obama’s policies went to far

    EricPWJohnson (5907f7)

  40. We owe him for showing us the difference between governing and ruling.We have not had a ruler since 1776,people forget.

    dunce (b89258)

  41. History will show that Bush’s popularity ratings were driven more by what he DIDNT do

    Interesting idea. I don’t know if it’s right, but I do wish he had fought harder in some areas. I wonder if he even agreed with me at all in these areas, and suspect his compromises were often actually close to what he really wanted.

    At one point, it became clear he was negotiating quite a lot for support of the war effort, though.

    Bush didn’t make it look easy, but he made it look a lot easier than Obama’s making it look. Bush took a lot of crap, and while I wish he defended his policies more I am grateful he didn’t act like Obama has been.

    What is it you think Bush should have done? Social security reform? He’d be #1 on my list of great presidents if he had pulled that off.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  42. “You got that, liberals? You’re not thinking clearly. You are confused. You aren’t actually smart enough to have an informed opinion.

    So just shut up and let Uncle Barry handle things for you.”

    Pretty condescending, huh? Well, welcome to our world. It’s a crowded place.

    Condescending, yes, but, for at least the italicized part, it’s actually, for the most part, correct where liberals are concerned.

    That IS a rather relevant distinction, methinks…

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (9eeb86)

  43. He’d be #1 on my list of great presidents if he had pulled that off.

    That would have required the 2000+ era GOP to recall the Contract with America that put them there in the first place, though, wouldn’t it have?

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (9eeb86)

  44. The continual reminders that our POTUS is a thin-skinned jerk never fails to raise a smile. 🙂

    Icy Texan (fb9f05)

  45. Republicans are terrorists and bigots of the worst possible sort. they have referred to Obama as Marxist, Socialist, Muslim etc. for years now. We all know its because the Republican party is a haven for bigots. How else can you explain the ease with which hateful rumors and lies spread?

    But here is a topic that I dont see discussed.. if the TEA baggers were serious about deficit reduction and not just a band of bigots in disguise, where is their outcry against the massive deficits this very bad tax bill will create? Compare their mute response to this with their outcry over the supposed deficits created by health care reform, and read the posts on this thread with their angry remarks and one can only conclude that racism is alive and well but because its not acceptable, they deny it even to themselves. The feelings are there however but they just get expressed in more acceptable ways..

    Doubt this..?? Then show me the TEA party protests and articles denouncing the Republican tax breaks and the resulting deficits that Obama so foolishly agreed to..and read between the lines of some of the posters here..

    vietnameravet (35c6c1)

  46. Tell me this is not the posting of an ignorant bigot

    I think Obama’s “confused” about what he gets to call a “fight” without the rest of us laughing in his fucking face.

    Comment by Leviticus

    or this one

    The continual reminders that our POTUS is a thin-skinned jerk never fails to raise a smile. 🙂

    Comment by Icy Texan

    vietnameravet (35c6c1)


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