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Monday, January 05, 2009


Why didnt Obama run as a Republican?

Unfortunately, I am going with your "January surprise".

This is THE winter of MY discontent--I was hounded like hell by liberal (?) friends and family about Obama, and he is proving to be even more conservative than I had predicted. I KNOW he hasnt been sworm in yet--he doesnt have to be--he commented on India, he comments freely on the economy, he comments on Iraq, Afghaniastan, his NEW! IMPROVED! "tax cuts" (how the HELL is he going to PAY for anything!) My gawd, he is Bush with some added brains! This is he?? Even I am surprised!

E.J. Dionne says now, on truthdig, that "liberal Dems only make up 1% and, are sadly, a dying breed" (I am para phrasing). Good! We shall have too remember this in 2012 and NOT be hounded and cajoled, and guilt-tripped into the horrors that will happen if we just vote our fricking conscience!

The Dems have all THREE now, and, still, they stil feel that they need to "build bipartisan consensus"--ie. caving to conservatives! I am angrier than I can freely express..I was, at the least, hoping that his fiscal policy was going to include a more permanent fix for the "green economy" (right!), a fair income for fair work, SOME health care reform that dosent sell it all to the insurance lobbyists. We have no chance of any of this. He is giving tax CUTS to BUSINESS! (In "Obama godl dollars"? Does anyone else find these commercials for coins and plates offensive??)

CHANGE?! WHAT CHANGE!Is that what he is giving the poor--

you have it right.
the obama water bearers are getting to be even more sickening than the man himself.

yes, lover of jazz...maybe they always were. They were the ones that spent billions and much effort to convince so many liberals that he was liberal, to convince so many moderates that he was moderate--and now he seems to be conservative.

I cant watch FOX for very long (my blood pressure--seriously!), but, despite their racist songs and rants about his "birth certificate", if you watch some of the less subtle guys on there, they are ecstatic.

We have already tried all this stuff--the war, the economy--why bother at all, if you are going to do the same thing? The only answer is POWER.

How DARE the IDF bomb a UN SCHOOL?? Are they trying to commit suicide??

Judeo-Christian Thanatos is wildly on display!

OK, let's try this again:

Some may imagine that this disengaged approach confirms Obama as a true "friend of Israel."

But Jeremy Ben-Ami, the executive director of the U.S.-based pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy group J Street, argues that: "While (the recent) air strikes by Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza can be understood and even justified in the wake of recent rocket attacks, we believe that real friends of Israel recognize that escalating the conflict will prove counterproductive...

Put Nichols remark in context, and it's not hard to figure out what he's saying. Some may see Obama's silence as the act of a "friend of Israel", but real friends of Israel would speak against what Israel is doing.

So he's not treating the idea that Obama is a "friend of Israel" as an "exotic, fanciful notion", he's saying it's a mistaken notion - not mistaken about Obama's position, but mistaken about how a true friend would act.

SteveB--I'm sorry, but, this sounds like rationalizing--so Obama is NOT supportive of Israel, because he wont criticize? Is that the "logic"?

I mean it IS true, that anyone who cares about Israel, woudl see this as a farce and a horror show. Perhaps as a genocide. But, we are probably one of the very few countries in the world now(maybe some old Eastern blocs?) that are still backing Israel on this one! We blocked a vote in the UN SC!

So,please, make no mistake, as the only country with any true power over Israel, by NOT speaking up, we are ACTING , whether we like it or not.

SteveB: Ok, I see your interpretation of that one remark now (which you may have found easy to figure out but which was utterly obscure to me; if that was the only point Nichols was trying to make there, he blew it).

Nonetheless, looking at the context of the article as a whole, Nichols acts as though Obama's support for Israel (in this instance or any other) is somehow in doubt—which it's not. Which was my point. Consider:

But neglecting to engage at this critical stage sends the wrong message about the seriousness with which Obama will pursue that "active role" once he has the power that goes with the pulpit.

It doesn't send the "wrong message", it sends exactly the right message, but Nichols refuses to accept that message. And if you still disagree with that: would Nichols have written a long article full of advice for Bush about how to handle Israel's attack on Gaza? No? Why not? Because he knows where Bush is coming from and therefore knows there's no point in telling him to act counter to that. The very fact that he took so much time to give advice to "the Obama administration that will soon end Bush's reign of error" regarding ways to avoid "sending the wrong message" shows that he simply hasn't understood or accepted Obama's very clear statements and signals about where he stands. Which, again, was my point.

During the excruciatingly overlong campaign “season”, Obama supporters in various blog comments raved about Obama’s phenomenal understanding of politics and what amounted to radical views to completely overhaul and reform the decayed and moribund Amerikan political process.

Obama zealots urged us skeptics to Read His Book! It explains everything!

It came across a little bit like die-hard unrecovering investors discovering a new pyramid scheme—except this time it isn’t a pyramid scheme! It’s totally legit, and a sure thing—if enough of us get behind the man and support what he’s doing!

As the teevee infomercial ads say: And That’s Not All! Apart from being schooled and smart and shrewd and canny, Obama was also revered as virtuous. Whatever his exact religious beliefs, it is beyond question that Obama is a pious, decent, good-hearted man!

I admit that I struggle with the latter qualities in any politician. I have an abiding, and hardening, suspicion that our elite political class is actually a cold-blooded sub-species of human stripped of personal passions and sympathies during business hours, which approach 24/7. I've wondered whether I would've been captivated by JFK had I been an adult during his political career.

Because at this late date, brilliant smiles and words of love don't win my heart any more. From the beginning, Obama struck me as inwardly cold and calculating, despite the scripted image of Obama as a passionate idealist and a warm 'n wonderful family man-- much like the second coming of JFK, with a beautiful wife and those sweet kids, mutatis mutandis. The emergence of the remaining Sweet Kid at Obama's side during the primaries was no coincidence.

This is why I came to think of Obama as “Clinton 2.0”, and so did others: all of the great taste of personal charisma, neoliberalism, exceptionalism, pro-corporatism, and of course militarism—but none of that filling lechery and the bitter aftertaste of sleaze!

But over time, it seemed obvious to me that all of these saintly qualities were undermined by Obama’s approach of reducing every question and issue to a political calculus. This quality does not faze or bother his supporters; in fact, the Golden Calf of “pragmatism” has been dragged from the the shelf and polished to a dazzling shine in honor of this latest “Third Way” approach to politics. Values and principles, rights and wrongs are a function of what works, not the other way around. Don't get me started...

I believe that the Gaza debacle has justly shown up this hyper-calculating side of Obama in an unflattering light. Defenders see it, of course, as still more good sense and shrewdness—they cite alleged “protocol” and the general claim that Obama must keep his winning hand close to his chest until he takes office. So, except for a few blithe pro-Israeli soundbites, there is no “need” for Obama to take a position on the vile and reprehensible inhumanity perpetrated by the terrorist rogue state of Israel.

It seems preposterous to expect that after taking his own sweet time to weigh in substantively on this crisis, he will disclose a humane and even-handed perspective.

Meanwhile, desperate Palestinians and the non-privileged Arab and Muslim peoples are literally dying to hear an encouraging word from Obama. His determined silence is causing his pedestal to melt like an ice cube in the Negev at noon. Too bad, but better sooner than later.

Little Brother--Excellent post!

I would agree with all of it.

I "remember" JFK--I was very young, and, my parents were GOP--especially my mother. She hated him, but cried when he died. That is all I remember. My dad was GOP at the time, but screamed bloody murder when Bush Sr. invaded Iraq--"no blood for oil"!!

I reg as a Dem, but I an so entirely sick of their sell-out behavior, I will never do it again. Well, I didnt this time!

When younger people were saying that this was "their JFK". I tried to tell them how conservative JFK actually was! (taxcuts for the wealthy, the Cuban missile crisis, RFK at the CIA)

Prtogresives are wasting their lives on the Dems--they will NEVER do any progresive thing that we want! We need to give it up. Even if we lose, at least they cant guilt trip us anymore...

It is actually shaping up to be much worse than I had expected...

The January Surprise speculation seems reasonable to me. I would be surprised if something a lot like it did not happen. If it makes it into the news, I'll speculate that it gets spun as a thoughtful consultation rather than a criminal conspiracy.

I get the same impression of Obama, Little Brother; a very calculating man. I think he consciously and effectively targets his supporters' desire for a "grown up" political leader. As most political leaders are disturbingly infantile, that's a powerful draw. Cynical too, needless to say. When I've seen him speak on television, I've been impressed by his poise and what appears to be a warm, decent regard for the beliefs and feelings of humankind. I think he may actually be sincere, until it's time to get down to business, and I think he can turn that sincerity on and off, as needed.

Little Brother: It seems preposterous to expect that after taking his own sweet time to weigh in substantively on this crisis, he will disclose a humane and even-handed perspective.

Just one good point among many (and thanks for all of them). If Obama felt that what Israel was doing was an indefensible crime, he'd be saying so right now—so on that basis alone we can be certain that when he does finally end his silence he won't take the right stance. Not that it will matter, since people like Nichols will be satisfied just to see him adopt a more "nuanced" approach than Bush, and take an active role in "advancing the peace process."

I am fairly good at "reading" character--after all, my graduate degree is in Psychoology.

I heard so many people say that, they "came to Obama" "through their kids" who found him on the internet. Now, that is ok, I suppose, but, there is a reason why the voting age is 18 (and was 21 before Vietnam) Gawd knows who I wouldve voted for at 15! The best looking and "coolest" , I suppose. I think that many "older" people ( I mean mostly parnts) , thought that they would be "cool to their kids" voting for Obama, Alot of rich, white people did it to assauage guilt over treament of Af Ams, I believe. Many college kids supported Obama, because, well, on college campuses, from what I have heard--you just HAD to, or be left out of many activites. (I have one sister who is a prof at SUNY/Purchase, and , one who is a piano teacher in DC)

It was a very effective and brilliant campaign. Intelligence doesnt always make for heart--I just dont see it in Obama. He is incredibly cold and calculating to me. Why, otherwise, would he refuse to comment on Gaza? Its only for political purposes. Everything he says and does seems to be for political purposes. He could not have won without it? Well, that should not be true--but he has won now. The Dems have all three branches of "check and balances", and, still, they cannot quit kissing GOP a**!

Even his "support" today of Burris, (whom he originally agreed with Reid on), is calculated, because, so many are angry about it. He gave the huge tax cuts for GOP. He kept Gatew on for "bipartisanship".

WHERE , exazctly, does Obama STAND--on principle? The "war"? Health care? Gaza? Nominations?Gay rights? Even respect for his fellow party member? I dont see it.

The Dems immediate denunciation of Diane Feinstein (who should have probably been replaced, but, that is another story)in her questioning of one of his appts., drew an outrage of "disrespect" cries from the Dems.Where do we get this idea that a person who is a politican deserves automatic "respect"? Because our constitution stupidly (I think) decided to make our popularly elected politican, "commander in chief" as weel as "head of state"? Respect is earned. Feinstein has been there a long time. She shoudl have been consulted. If he didnt spend so much time (as all Dems so) having brunches with Dubya he night have more time to work with Dems.
Our country is in dire straits. The GOP will oppose whatever the Dems try to do. Catering to them is politicaly calculating, and, doesnt work. Their job is to fight Dems--that is how many see it. The Dems jobs is supposed to be what the majority voted in this time (given the duopoly choice). They shoudl get about it! (some of it might actually be ok)

The job of true progressives is to call the Dems on everything that we see them doing that caters to conservative intersts. That is how I see it. I spent half my life voting for Dems. I want to spend the (second?)"half", doing something to change my country. The Dems aint it.

I think it's possible that he doesn't approve of Israel's actions, but of course is too much the calculating politician who cheered Israel on during the Lebanon War to actually denounce them.

When I say he may not approve of Israel's actions, I don't mean that he's got some deep moral compass he's hiding from us. Maybe he does, but he sold his soul a long time ago. I mean that he might see Israel's actions as a big problem for him. He wanted to come into office and portray himself as a dramatic change, America's back, blah, blah, blah and at least some people overseas seem to have believed the hype or hoped that having a Muslim middle name meant he'd be more sympathetic. Then Israel starts bombing Palestinians for no good reason and like most American politicians, he thinks it's the kiss of death to criticise them in any way, but at the same time he realizes that this situation reveals him to be a big fraud before he even takes office. He can't be too thrilled by that. So now he's finally come out with some wimpy statement of concern over civilian casualties--if pressed he will probably blame Hamas as he blamed Hezbollah in 2006, but he's trying to say as little as possible.

It's even possible that he sees himself as someone who will bring about an Israeli/Palestinian peace, the way most mainstream liberals nowadays see themselves as devoutly wishing to see a two state solution and yet always blame the Palestinians for everything that goes wrong. It might not be a peace deal Palestinians would be happy with, but he might have been able to work with a semi-quisling type like Abbas and reach an agreement. The bombing of Gaza has made that a lot harder.

KDelphi: The job of true progressives is to call the Dems on everything that we see them doing that caters to conservative intersts.

Yes, one of our many jobs.

Donald: Agreed, in the main. I'd say Obama's disagreement with Israel here would be mostly tactical and not moral. And I also agree that he wants to be the one who finally settles the Israel/Palestine issue, but within the exact same framework as Bill Clinton (and George Bush, for that matter): full deference to every Israeli whim.

The real problem with liberals like Nichols on this issue is that they think Clintonian-style engagement is what's needed, when the fact is that the number of settlers in the Occupied Territories doubled during Clinton's presidency—in large part thanks to his assistance in neutralizing Palestinian resistance with his usual death-by-negotiation strategy. Like Clinton, Obama will likely be better at maintaining the status quo, and the status quo favors Israel.

Obama's AIPAC speech told me all I need to know. He has decided to hire on (get this), for his chief emmissseries to the MIddle East, and India, DENNIS ROSS (???!!!), Richard Haas, and Ruchard HOlbrooke--this, according to Just Foreign Policy News....and HuffPo--I mean FluffPo. I hope it is wrong!

I think it's possible that he doesn't approve of Israel's actions, but of course is too much the calculating politician who cheered Israel on during the Lebanon War to actually denounce them.

plumbing gladesville: Agreed; we can't tell what he actually thinks, just how he chooses to act. I made a point similar to yours in a posting about the Lebanon resolution passed overwhelmingly by Congress:

I think this legislation was correctly seen by the vast majority of Democrats as just another of many loyalty litmus tests by the Israeli lobby--meaning mainly AIPAC, of course--with no political downside for a "yea" vote and no possible gain from a "nay" vote. So why vote any other way?
However, if Obama chooses to act consistently in support of Israel regardless of what crime it's committing, what does it matter (or even mean) if he doesn't like it in his secret heart of hearts?

On an entirely unrelated topic, how do you feel about Kenny? Good for business?

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