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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Your "adding" was exactly what I was thinking! (well, not exactly...my thoughts had a chili-pepper word or two)

This isn't a lesson; therefore there's nothing to learn.

The pseudoliberals who backed Obama backed him for reasons of pride -- selfishness and self-aggradizement. They knew he was "their" guy just as the more-obvious rightwingers knew Bush was "their" guy. True, the left had a lot more people taken for a ride than the right, but the pseudos had all the confidence of their counterparts across the aisle.

The fact of the matter is, if it doesn't hurt a moderate, it doesn't matter. A moderate -- and those calling themselves liberals and slavishly clinging to Obama even though they literally know better -- are concerned with themselves. The difference between themselves and another rightwinger is that they're happy to be liberal with those like themselves.

So if Obama has screwed you over -- if you've lost your house, your job, or even your life -- it's not their problem. Literally. It's the only way to make sense of their position: their political choices never have moral consequences. Yours always do.

• Ignoring illegal mass disenfranchisement of blacks in 2000: irrelevant.
• Blaming Nader for the 2000 election due to his running a completely legal campaign: significant.

Don't sit there and try to parse the logic; you are, in effect, dealing with a rightwinger. As usual, you merely need to ask what does the pseudo want? Well, he wanted control of his political faction. Nader denied him that; blacks are generally irrelevant to that.

Is Latin America important -- at least, as important as domestic political control? If not, why bother with evidence? It just goes to prove a contention -- Obama is bad and rightwing -- that is ultimately irrelevant. He's "their guy."

You can't unlearn selfishness. There's nothing here for them to learn.

"People who could and should have known better" didn't mean psuedoliberals or moderates; I was talking about the kind of people who spend their time actively educating themselves about and opposing their government's crimes, but who nonetheless felt (and in some sad cases still feel) that Obama deserved to be given time before we could fairly conclude he'd be exactly the tireless champion of the status quo he's been.

Um -- why wouldn't it include them?

I once knew a man who insisted he was a vegetarian, but ate the occasional fish and -- rarely, mind you -- steak. I knew another who argued with me at length that he was an agnostic, not an atheist, while maintaining that there absolutely, positively, provably, without ambiguity, was no such thing as God.

The appellation follows the action, not the self-identification.

Further, if the people in question "spend their time actively educating themselves about and opposing their government's crimes," they should not have known better; they did know better. It's still a moral failure and not a logical one.

(Unless the problem is actual insanity -- delusion and the like. I assume sanity unless there is compelling reason not to, which may be an error.)

I'm talking about people like Jonathan Schwarz, Medea Benjamin, Glenn Greenwald, Michael Moore, and millions of others who have similar values. They're not actually "right-wingers" or "insane"; they were just swayed, even if only partially and/or temporarily, by empty rhetoric and by a deep desire to believe that some meaningful level of positive change could come from a corporate/militarist Democrat like Obama.

I can believe that both assertions are partially true. Schwarz and the rest deluded themselves into believing that a slick-talking Right Wing asshole is "their kind of people," without themselves being Right Wingers.

I also think that they just want to be part of a winner's circle. Any winner's circle, with its attendant cred and perks and "access." No matter what kind of people are actually setting it up.

The local variety of Obama fan always seemed to carry on like the dude was some trendy new must-have designer good like an iPod or an awesome new jacket. He looked good, so he WAS good. Content be damned. In that sense, his followers DO have a lot in common with the rank-and-file Reagan and/or Bush followers.

@ms_xeno, your last point is exactly right--most voters treat politicians like a sports team or a designer item, which puts them in the habit of sticking with their man through right and wrong.

I'm pleased that at least one of the people John mentioned above seems to be coming around: Glenn Greenwald has recently been repeatedly pointing out that partisanship among Democrats and Republicans trumps all other considerations for most of their fans, including the supposed values of their parties and the rule of law.

Either my message was trapped in moderator hell or the browser ate it. Hopefully this doesn't double-post.

The fact is, if a person backs Obama and knows better they're still committing what is, ultimately, an evil act -- if they get something out of it. I agree with ms. xeno's point: they are getting something out of it. That's still morally reprehensible. I think that "rightwing" thought should be considered a continuum, not a unified edifice, and any use of unprincipled selfishness should fall in its rubric. It's a moral failure, not a failure of logic or misapplied ideology, and it is unified by its results and policies, not its demeanor. I really don't care if torture apologists are unabashedly rightwing or if they demanded Obama be given carte blanche to "get around to fixing the problem": both groups still support torture.

Worse, people claiming liberalism while demanding -- actually demanding -- that persons who were rendered homeless and jobless back Obama have easily reached a level of arrogance surpassing that of many teabaggers.

Now, if exceptions need to be made for those who repent, all well and good. A practical analysis works both ways: if you stop doing assholish things, you stop being an asshole and that's that. But anyone who backs a candidate or policy that could disenfranchise or murder you or yours is an enemy, and I really don't care how much we both appreaciate Chomsky.

The rightwinger who refuses to vote or engage in politics is not my enemy.

The jackass calling himself liberal who backs Obama even when his policies drive me and mine into homelessness is.

I didn't make the choice: they did.

And that should be an excellent start to the new year's political vitriol. Happy new year, everybody, and thanks for the blog, John!

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