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-   -   In Defense of Dumb Presidents (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=2118)

bjkeefe 09-16-2008 08:29 PM

Dear Glenn and John
 
You two are among my favorite 'Heads, but this was a thoroughly unenjoyable diavlog.

Glenn: You are doing nothing but repeating rightwing talking points. It's time -- no, it's past time -- for you to stand up and be counted. You either want John McCain to be elected or you do not. This election is not about meeting every one of your criteria for building the dream presidential candidate. This isn't the time for you to indulge in every one of your hyperintellectual what-ifs. It is time for you to make a choice and get behind that choice 100%.

And as far as picking HRC for VP, let me just say this: It's pretty damned tiresome to listen to you play Monday morning quarterback when we're just entering the fourth quarter.

No, let me say some more.

It's also a willful denial of reality for you to say that there wouldn't have been major personality problems from day one after inauguration. You're forgetting that the first directive that Obama gave his staff was this: No drama.

Sure, do what all the rightwingers do and try to hurl "unity" back in Obama's face. But you're ignoring a hard truth: for Obama to have any hope of building real national unity, he has to cut as much past Democratic baggage loose as possible. The Clintons are good and smart people in a myriad of ways, but there is no escaping two facts: They are hate magnets for the right, and they would in no way have been content to play loyal lieutenants for the next four years. Review the months between the end of the primaries and the convention if you need any further evidence.

The bottom line is this: all the arguments you gave in favor of the Clintons had only to do with winning the election. They could be making all of those contributions you listed right now.

And John, to you: Stop conceding "you may have a point there" so often when you hear the kind of concern-troll nonsense Glenn spouts forth about Obama. You sound like the worst sort of stereotypical talk show liberal when you do this.

==========

P.S. I wrote the above after watching the first half hour.. The last part was better. I can only say I wish I had looked at the segment titles and skipped the first 35 minutes.

In particular -- John: Your reponse to Steele's and Kennedy's "symbol" question at about 39:00-40:00 was eloquent.

P.P.S. I fired this off before reading any of the other comments. If I've repeated what others have said, I apologize.

bjkeefe 09-16-2008 08:43 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 91279)
PS Bob, I really hope somebody at BHTV will focus on the amazing speech Biden gave yesterday. No lipstick, just real, important issues.

Yes, that was superb, wasn't it?

I've got a short clip, and the video of the whole speech, as well as links to the transcript, posted here, if anyone is interested. It really does bear watching.

bjkeefe 09-16-2008 08:45 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tottoritodd (Post 91260)
Agressively non-reflective???? How can you say this????

I thought that phrase of John's was spot-on. Palin epitomizes those in this country who embrace their ignorance.

bjkeefe 09-16-2008 08:48 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ray (Post 91269)
A brief tangent: how could Gibson let her get away with the Russia stuff? When she started in with the bit about seeing Russia from Alaska, he should have simply said 'Okay. You're an expert on Russia, then. What do make of Medvedev?'

Best comeback to that question I've seen came from a commenter, possibly on Balloon Juice: I can see the moon from my window. Doesn't make me an astronaut, does it?

willmybasilgrow 09-16-2008 09:00 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Right. Re-shaping it around cultural issues. Right, Glenn.

And --- RIGHT! The other thing is race. The convention, the state of Alaska.

John brings up the good point about Obama's experience. If Obama does not have a good answer by now to this question, because McCain is sharpening his knives on this very question for the debates....we're cooked.

Did John say Bush offered us some promise in the beginning???

Reagan not reflective? Hmmm..perhaps. But I harken back to all those GE speeches he gave on the radio. Surely they must have come from a lot of thought (if not reflection). No?

The dialogue is getting bogged down in this talk about intelligence. I think the word we're looking for is LEADERSHIP. Smarts are definitely a component, less so the ability to be reflective, but only about 35-50% I would say. Temperament, and perceived qualities and characteristics are just as important.

Right, John: Obama needs some slogans. Good ones of course.

Glenn, totally disagree that O missed his moment to unite by not choosing Hillary. How weak and NON change would he look, if he had done so. Nope. Good choice, Obama. Good choice.

Good Lord. Move on!

Guys, if he wins? I'm afraid that a lot of people will end up voting on race. I am worried.

And, yes, Glenn, he did limp to the nomination.

bjkeefe 09-16-2008 09:04 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by harkin (Post 91301)
I have to disagree completely with John that the desired requirements of the next President will be any greater than they were in 1980 (or for that matter during any other election year). Reagan had to deal with (among many other things) runaway inflation, disillusion with his own party, a hostage crisis in Iran (well, he influenced the outcome anyway) and a little thing called the cold war with an arms race which American leftists were doing everything they could to undermine. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan just two years before he was elected.

Good point. Our own problems always seem harder, and every one we've gotten through seems insignificant in hindsight, doesn't it?

Quote:

John also seems to forget that a very important aspect of being an effective president is the ability to deal with events unforseen on election day (e.g. 9/11).
This is what scares me more than anything about John McCain.

Quote:

I do agree with him wholeheartedly though that Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are about equally experienced (read: not very) with Obama having the edge as a chief executive in theory of being ready to go out there an inspire the bejeezus out of us and Palin the edge in reality of what she actually has proven as a quick study and ability to accomplish difficult tasks with bi-partisanship. Make no mistake both experience resumes are very thin/
Another point in Obama's favor on this: he has been vetted by the press, and more importantly, by the voters (of his own party, mostly, granted) while running a 19-month long gauntlet.

I also think the fact that he has managed the campaign counts for something -- this is executive experience in a pressure cooker and under the spotlight. Granted, the consequences of failing here only mean losing an election, but it's still not nothing.

Quote:

The best example of the ABC effect is Tina Fey's SNL performance, which was as visually and aurally spot-on as it was intellectually vacant. I have a feeling Lorne Michaels will trot her out regularly up until the election to play the backwoods rube. Palin (and the audience) deserve better.
Oh, please. Like SNL and every other comedy troupe in the country doesn't skewer all politicians. This is special pleading and asking for a double standard -- you Palin supporters take instant offense at every suggestion that she's not ready to be a national leader, yet demand that she be exempted from even the tamest form of satire.

And I'm sure you were delighted when Tina Fey was working against Obama with the "bitch is the new black" routine.

Quote:

She [Palin] also can't be disappointed that a woman six years her junior impersonated her and yet looked much older.
That's lower than I'd expect from you. Or are you saying remarks on Palin's physical appearance should now be considered back in bounds?

bjkeefe 09-16-2008 09:14 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 91254)
Good to see commercials on BHTV! While I don't like commercials, I do like revenue for BHTV.

Second that. I do hope, however, that a way can figured out to prevent the ad from showing before dingalinked clips. Many of the best dingalinks are only a few seconds long. It's a shame to have to sit through an ad for that -- kills the mood.

Curtis 09-16-2008 09:58 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Is it known that Obama did NOT offer the VP slot to Clinton? How do we know that he didn't offer her the VP slot? Maybe she turned him down.

StillmanThomas 09-16-2008 11:15 PM

Re: Dear Glenn and John
 
Brendan,

I don't really disagree with anything you've said here, but I want to come to Dr. Loury's defense for just a moment. Over the past year I've learned more from Glenn Loury than from any of the other Blogging Heads. I love his series with Josh Cohen, and I hope we see them back together again (in addition to these talks with John McWhorter), because they allow Glenn to shine at what he's so brilliant at: economic analysis. I'm hungering for him to get into the prison problem -- the over-incarceration of black males -- which I think will be a profound learning experience. I particularly agree with criticism from others above that Glenn is not at his best when he's doing political commentary and analysis.

What makes these conversations with Glenn and John so scintillating for me, is that they show so clearly how two generations of black men have such utterly different world views about their own race, and about racism in America. So often, Glenn seems tortured about things that just don't seem to bother John. Looking back at how Glenn has reacted to the Obama campaign over this past year would be an amazing character study. He's gone from, "It's too easy for whites to think they can vote in a black man and all race problems are ended" (10 months ago) to "Obama is not Jackie Robinson. He's not good enough to be the standard bearer" (today). I believe that a deep and haunting pain shows through in Glenn's response to Obama. This is a pain that I have compassion for, but absolutely no parallel in my own privileged life.

I view all of this with as much compassion as I can muster. Glenn is a man with a complex personal and political history. He's only 11 months older than I, and yet he's endured things that I can't even imagine. As a white middle class son of a Goldwater Republican, I can't even conceive of how I would have handled myself in the situations that formed Glenn's character.

So bless you both, John and Glenn. Someone should package up this series of diavlogs and make them the centerpiece of a class on racism, the black experience, the sociology of oppression, or something someone much more learned than I can entitle. These diavlogs are a national treasure, as are both of you fine gentlemen. Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit in allowing us to eavesdrop on your heartfelt conversations.

And again, Brenden, I mean absolutely no slight to you.

Eastwest 09-17-2008 12:19 AM

Goofiest Argument of All Time for Obama's "Experience"...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 91309)
Another point in Obama's favor on this: he has been vetted by the press, and more importantly, by the voters (of his own party, mostly, granted) while running a 19-month long gauntlet.

I also think the fact that he has managed the campaign counts for something -- this is executive experience in a pressure cooker and under the spotlight.

What a joke.

Obama's experience is zilch. So we tout the fact he can run a sensational campaign. The campaign is his experience.

That's how desperate the Obamaphiles have become. Last thing they'll admit is they were idiots to choose this guy and screwed the Dems by doing so. When in doubt, blame somebody else, anybody else: HRC, Bill Clinton, Glenn Loury, McCain's smears, Hillary's supporters, etc., anybody.

But the last thing you'd want to admit is that you are a fool and a year ago should have known better than to even think of choosing this guy.

EW

thouartgob 09-17-2008 12:24 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Curtis (Post 91311)
Is it known that Obama did NOT offer the VP slot to Clinton? How do we know that he didn't offer her the VP slot? Maybe she turned him down.

I was gonna suggest this but chickened out :-) We don't really know what Obama did or didn't offer Hillary. Don't think either would want to say that it happened if it did. I really think that Hillary didn't think Obama had a chance so one could argue that she turned him down.

Why worry now ?? Biden was a serious choice for a serious time and I don't think Obama should regret that choice, Obama needs more candor in his campaign not Clinton Schtick.

look 09-17-2008 12:47 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by old philadelphia lady (Post 91278)
The two sides to the Hillary as VP question were well articulated it seems to me. A great help in the election, but quite possibly a disaster in governing. In the end too great a risk. Whether or not Biden was the best choice, Hillary was not. Glen was brilliant, but this one goes to John.

In order for her to be a nuisance in the White house, they'd have to be elected first. So far, Obama's not broken far ahead of McCain, and I think that indicates racism. Even factoring in the Clinton baggage, I think Hillary was his single best chance, in combining their totals and hoping for the best among the Indies.



Buchanan arguing to Matthews that Obama should have picked Hillary:

Buchanan: If he can't handle Bill stopping by for lunch, how can he handle Putin?

Matthews: (smiling) I think Bill might be trickier.

look 09-17-2008 12:49 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thouartgob (Post 91318)
I was gonna suggest this but chickened out :-) We don't really know what Obama did or didn't offer Hillary. Don't think either would want to say that it happened if it did. I really think that Hillary didn't think Obama had a chance so one could argue that she turned him down.

Why worry now ?? Biden was a serious choice for a serious time and I don't think Obama should regret that choice, Obama needs more candor in his campaign not Clinton Schtick.

At the time of the Biden pick, when everyone was up in arms about Hillary not being vetted, an Obama spokesman said (paraphrase), 'She asked not to be vetted if she wasn't going to be seriously considered.'

look 09-17-2008 12:56 AM

Re: Dear Glenn and John
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bokonon (Post 91313)
He's gone from, "It's too easy for whites to think they can vote in a black man and all race problems are ended" (10 months ago) to "Obama is not Jackie Robinson. He's not good enough to be the standard bearer" (today). I believe that a deep and haunting pain shows through in Glenn's response to Obama. This is a pain that I have compassion for, but absolutely no parallel in my own privileged life.

Hi Bokonon. It's interesting to compare those two remarks to two remarks John made in this DV (paraphrases):

'Obama doesn't need two white godparents in the White House.'

'Colin Powell isn't really black.' Or did he say, 'black enough'?

look 09-17-2008 12:59 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
But things are looking better on the promise of getting McCain on the economy issue right now, aren't they?

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 01:05 AM

Re: Goofiest Argument of All Time for Obama's "Experience"...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eastwest (Post 91317)
What a joke.

Obama's experience is zilch. So we tout the fact he can run a sensational campaign. The campaign is his experience.

But you ignored the first point -- that whether you think running a campaign counts for experience or not, Obama has been thoroughly vetted by the process and duration of it.

I mean, forget about the hermetically isolated Palin, McCain himself can't even face his buddies in the media anymore. He goes on "The View," for Pete's sake, after a month of not giving an interview, and melts down there, too.

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 01:29 AM

Re: Dear Glenn and John
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bokonon (Post 91313)
And again, Brenden, I mean absolutely no slight to you.

None taken. A very thoughtful and good response.

I share your reaction to Glenn, and to the diavlogs he does with John and Josh. He is one of my favorites, too. He has taught me a lot, especially with his different perspective. I respect his views and I think most of the doubts about Obama he has raised in the past year have been well-reasoned, even if I don't agree with all of them.

But today? Maybe he arrived at the thoughts he expressed independently, but too often, they sounded exactly like the FUD that the GOP trained seals have been pouring into every microphone and keyboard they can find.

And more to the point, Glenn can't change Obama's policy positions, campaign strategy, or VP pick now, no matter how much he carps. It's time to be a team player. I have said several times in the past that Obama could do a lot worse than to hire Glenn to be a conscience of his administration. But first we have to get there.

If Glenn really would prefer McCain to be president, well, that's his right. But unless he comes right out and says he does, I'm assuming he doesn't. If I'm right about that, then I'm saying it's time for Glenn to dial down the temptation to list every flaw and possible bad scenario he can imagine, accept that Obama is not perfect, and accept that it's come down to a single choice. Especially as he himself acknowledges that we're in the middle of a knife fight.

Just for two months. Is that so much to ask? I mean, it's not like Glenn doesn't have lots of other stuff I'd like to hear him talk about.

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 01:32 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by look (Post 91321)
At the time of the Biden pick, when everyone was up in arms about Hillary not being vetted, an Obama spokesman said (paraphrase), 'She asked not to be vetted if she wasn't going to be seriously considered.'

Can you give a reference for that?

Eastwest 09-17-2008 01:47 AM

Re: Goofiest Argument of All Time for Obama's "Experience"...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 91325)
But you ignored the first point -- that whether you think running a campaign counts for experience or not, Obama has been thoroughly vetted by the process and duration of it.

I mean, forget about the hermetically isolated Palin, McCain himself can't even face his buddies in the media anymore. He goes on "The View," for Pete's sake, after a month of not giving an interview, and melts down there, too.

Fair enough, I suppose. I just feel very very nervous about having to fall back on McCain being such a screaming idiot as the only route by which a complete disaster can be avoided.

It'll gall a few people to contemplate this, but I think, if Obama squeaks by, it won't be so much on his own policies or abilities, but rather because Biden and the Clintons come to his rescue, connecting with the prospective voter on a gut level in a way which Barack, ample IQ aside, just doesn't seem to be able to do very well.

Paradoxical in the extreme that these folks so disdained earlier on may be the only way to pull a Dem victory out of the fire.

Of course having a complete economic flame-out going on now throws a big 8-ball right into the middle of things. It should produce a big pro-Dem swing, but knowing the Republican spin-machine, could well be that's another one of those expertises one masters by being shot down and vegging for 5 years as a POW.

EW

benjy 09-17-2008 02:06 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Every time I watch these two I feel compelled to write in with lavish praise--they are just so good. I'd have to say they're the best pairing on BhTV--the use of language in service of ideas is just perfect, and you come away feeling elevated intellectually every time. So Glenn and John, you inspire more than just your students, although I guess we BhTVers are your online students :).

The one comment I'll make on the election, touched on in this discussion, but more central to Ross and Ezra's, is just how downright depressing the level of general election campaign's been so far, and how along with Ezra its made me much less interested in politics than I should be considering the unaltered importance of electoral outcomes and policy differences. Its just conducted on such a low level, with obvious blame going to McCain and the MSM, but also sufficient blame if not as much dishonor to Obama, for as Glenn rightly points out not agreeing to the town halls, and generally not running a truly courageous campaign trying to lead and persuade people morally and philosophically on the rightness of his positions. Obviously he had and has completely defensible political reasons for doing both of these things, and both campaigns are just doing whatever they feel they need to do to win, but that doesn't change the fact that his decisions in these regards have made the election less interesting and enlightening, as have of course the media's dynamics and McCain's political imperatives and willingness to engage in low level tactics if he sees political advantage in doing so.

Honestly I think I blame the electorate most of all, as all the other parties are just reacting to their assessment of realities about the electorate. If everybody, or more specifically the people the campaigns are battling over, those who haven't already voted, wanted a more elevated political process and debate, and put the work in to know what they think and figure out what's true beyond the silly level of surface chatter in the MSM, the dominant thread of the media and candidates' rhetoric would cater to that. And if people didn't mostly just dig in and consume information from self-reinforcing sources, that would improve our national discussion. And if they were more interested in the president as a solver of the nation's problems than a reflection of themself that they like to see in the White House, there'd be more emphasis on that. And if they cared more about budgets being moral documents and an expression of our values as a society, and had values more in keeping with the person many people on the right say they believe in, a certain Jesus Christ, we'd have a debate and budgets more in keeping with social and economic justice, etc., etc. And if yaddayaddayadda the world would be better than it is now. Anyway, the fact that there's so many diverse sources of information out there only causes the nonsense we see if enough of the electorate isn't operating at a sufficiently high level to be unaffected by the chatter. Just because a statement's elitist doesn't mean its not true ;).

And btw I'm not saying that the other three foundations of morality which Jonathan Haidt discusses in his thoroughly excellent piece in Edge aren't entirely important and worthy--whether one finds them as worthy as the two more liberal foundations is of course subjective, but what's disappointing intellectually is that there's almost no explicit discussion of any of the five foundations, and elections are run on a very low intellectual level. Which comes full circle back to the fact that most people aren't intellectuals, which isn't a priori a worse way for them to be, but it does make what on its highest level one of the most interesting and deepest aspects of intellectual life and debate into a quite boring and unsatisfying one. And yes, a good candidate doesn't necessarily have to be a highly thoughtful intellectual, and other qualities can be more important for political leadership, but for the thoughtful among us aggressive unthoughtfullness is nevertheless disappointing.

The above notwithstanding, if I had to put money down, I'd still put it down on Obama ;). Its hard to see how things won't get at least somewhat more serious from the time of the debates, and yaddayaddayadda, the economy and the usual policy factors still give him the edge I think. So I guess I hope in four years he'll be able to do a lot more in regards to these issues and improve the level of discourse beyond the chattering classes than he's done in the general election campaign, and get both sides to get to the root of the matter a little more.

(And clearly, given all these factors, how one could disentangle race to say that's the causal factor in an Obama loss seems exceedingly difficult to say the least, but throwing it in there just adds to the general gloominess.)

look 09-17-2008 02:41 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 91328)
Can you give a reference for that?

I may not be recalling correctly. This is the closest I can find for now:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/8/23/205339/621
But what I'm remembering I saw on TV, probably MSNBC, so maybe this was the quote. But as I recall, the official was saying in an exasperated tone, 'Hillary said, only vet me if I'm seriously considered.' And I remember thinking, that's not helping your case. Oh, well, I'll bow to the NYT.

Wonderment 09-17-2008 03:21 AM

Expect the worst
 
Quote:

(And clearly, given all these factors, how one could disentangle race to say that's the causal factor in an Obama loss seems exceedingly difficult to say the least, but throwing it in there just adds to the general gloominess.)
Well, there's a lot to be thrown into the general gloominess.

The election is at the moment a virtual tie. We also had virtual ties in 2000 (an actual statistical tie) and 2004.

That means the next election will either be another virtual tie or be decided by a significant margin of the now undecided.

While some intelligent people may still be honestly undecided (Colin Powell claims to be an example), it's safe to assume that most undecideds at this stage of a very long game are also undereducated, uninformed and -- I hate to say it -- of subnormal intelligence.

How would a good strategist appeal to this lowest common denominator of the population? Probably with lots of big lies, bogus and simplistic solutions to problems, posturing, fear-mongering and sexist and racist stereotypes.

StillmanThomas 09-17-2008 03:43 AM

Re: Dear Glenn and John
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 91327)
...I think most of the doubts about Obama [Glenn] has raised in the past year have been well-reasoned, even if I don't agree with all of them.

I've always thought that Glenn's doubts about Obama were not really about Obama per se. I think his doubts are about America and the American people. Glenn knows that electing a black president won't get a million black men out of prison. It won't stop black children from being murdered in their homes. It won't solve the vicious disparity between black and white incomes. But I think Glenn believes that by electing Obama, we will somehow feel that the race problem is solved, and thus, it will never get solved. The tragic thing is, I can't honestly say that I think he's completely wrong in this fear.

When I was young, I remember seeing pictures of little John John Kennedy, playing in the knee hole of his daddy's desk in the oval office. There was something so beautiful, so innocent, so hopeful about that scene, and it's affected me positively all my life. Ever since Obama started showing that he had a serious chance to win the nomination, I've been hoping (and yes, praying) that I get to see pictures of his beautiful family cavorting in the White House. At this point in my life, nothing would make me happier.

But it's absolutely vital that we commit ourselves to remembering that Obama in the White House is only the next step in the healing of America's hideous racism. There are many many more steps that we will have to take. And we must make certain that we do not forget the work yet to be done, even as we celebrate Obama's victory on inauguration day.

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 03:55 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by look (Post 91335)
I may not be recalling correctly. This is the closest I can find for now:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/8/23/205339/621
But what I'm remembering I saw on TV, probably MSNBC, so maybe this was the quote. But as I recall, the official was saying in an exasperated tone, 'Hillary said, only vet me if I'm seriously considered.' And I remember thinking, that's not helping your case. Oh, well, I'll bow to the NYT.

Okay. Thanks.

For the record, though: MyDD's link to the NYT does not point to an existing page. Googling for exact phrases from the blockquote (e.g. | e.g.) does not show any indication that the blockquoted material ever appeared anywhere in the NYT (one false alarm hit points to something from a commenter under a Caucus blog post).

It does appear that MyDD's blockquoted material appeared in a story bylined "Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Writer," though (e.g.) and MyDD's link indicates it was an AP story on the NYT's site. I don't know whether this means the NYT withdrew the story, replaced it with an updated version from AP that doesn't have this paragraph in it, or what. (The NYT does appear to archive the AP material they run, generally.)

In the end, it's not that big a deal. I am inclined to believe that HRC wasn't on the short list, and there's nothing to say about what you remember hearing on a TV show. Just thought I'd point out that this does seem to be a somewhat sketchy anecdote, based on anonymous sources, appearing in a story that may have later been changed.

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 04:19 AM

Re: Goofiest Argument of All Time for Obama's "Experience"...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eastwest (Post 91332)
Fair enough, I suppose. I just feel very very nervous about having to fall back on McCain being such a screaming idiot as the only route by which a complete disaster can be avoided.

It'll gall a few people to contemplate this, but I think, if Obama squeaks by, it won't be so much on his own policies or abilities, but rather because Biden and the Clintons come to his rescue, connecting with the prospective voter on a gut level in a way which Barack, ample IQ aside, just doesn't seem to be able to do very well.

That seems a little unfair. Obama has already won over a sizable chunk of the voting population on his own abilities and policy proposals. He has also gotten a large number of Dems/libs more energized than I can remember for any other of their candidates. He has the youth vote pumped up. He has won over a fair amount of non-libs (Obamacons) and non-Dems (Obamacans) and put a number of erstwhile red states into play. If he needs some help to connect with some more voters, that doesn't mean the rest of his accomplishments are chopped liver.

Quote:

Paradoxical in the extreme that these folks so disdained earlier on may be the only way to pull a Dem victory out of the fire.
Seems like more of a sweeping statement than is merited. I'd say the number of people who "so disdain" the Clintons is small, and the number who "so disdain" Biden is minuscule. Don't mistake a handful of chattering class types, who have been talking about this election for so long now that they're at the stage of making contra-contra-contra-contrarian statements just to distinguish themselves, as representative of the general public.

Quote:

Of course having a complete economic flame-out going on now throws a big 8-ball right into the middle of things. It should produce a big pro-Dem swing, but knowing the Republican spin-machine, could well be that's another one of those expertises one masters by being shot down and vegging for 5 years as a POW.
Yup. In the end, there's no accounting for clueless voters or voters with strange priorities.

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 04:46 AM

Re: Dear Glenn and John
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bokonon (Post 91339)
I've always thought that Glenn's doubts about Obama were not really about Obama per se. I think his doubts are about America and the American people. Glenn knows that electing a black president won't get a million black men out of prison. It won't stop black children from being murdered in their homes. It won't solve the vicious disparity between black and white incomes. But I think Glenn believes that by electing Obama, we will somehow feel that the race problem is solved, and thus, it will never get solved. The tragic thing is, I can't honestly say that I think he's completely wrong in this fear.

I think you've characterized Glenn's views precisely, and I also agree that he's right to be worried about this. On the other hand, there aren't really any serious people who believe Obama is the magic bullet. I think John's attitude is more reasonable -- it's another step of progress, and potentially a big one. And besides, carried to an extreme, Glenn's attitude almost argues that we shouldn't have a black president until we solve all the rest of those problems. Which ain't gonna happen, obviously. The only real way that racial (and other social) animosities are solved is by one generation replacing the last. Conscious civil right efforts help a lot, to be sure, but in the end, few adults change their minds. You have to get at the younger ones and bring them up with the right reinforcements.

There's another piece, too. Hard as it is might be to accept for older people, who have long memories of struggling, there are younger people who just don't have that much patience with the problem considered at the national scope. They have the attitude of, "Hey, I don't have those problems in my life," even if they are intellectually aware that problems do still exist. Again, I think John reflects this -- he conveys a slight impatience when too much is made out of the race-related problems, as though it's really hard for anyone to overcome them, and everything else needs to be put on hold until they are. He'll readily agree that problems still exist, but doesn't think they should be the only thing on people's minds. Ditto Obama.

I think it's always hard for older people to accept this in younger people, because it can't help but come off as containing elements of disrespect, obliviousness, and so on, towards the work done by their elders. We see the same thing in older-vs-younger feminists, gay people, and hell, even athletes.

Quote:

When I was young, I remember seeing pictures of little John John Kennedy, playing in the knee hole of his daddy's desk in the oval office. There was something so beautiful, so innocent, so hopeful about that scene, and it's affected me positively all my life. Ever since Obama started showing that he had a serious chance to win the nomination, I've been hoping (and yes, praying) that I get to see pictures of his beautiful family cavorting in the White House. At this point in my life, nothing would make me happier.
I know what you mean.


Quote:

But it's absolutely vital that we commit ourselves to remembering that Obama in the White House is only the next step in the healing of America's hideous racism. There are many many more steps that we will have to take. And we must make certain that we do not forget the work yet to be done, even as we celebrate Obama's victory on inauguration day.
For sure.

Eastwest 09-17-2008 07:13 AM

Re: The Obama Experience
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 91341)
That seems a little unfair. Obama has already won over a sizable chunk of the voting population on his own abilities and policy proposals. He has also gotten a large number of Dems/libs more energized than I can remember for any other of their candidates. He has the youth vote pumped up. He has won over a fair amount of non-libs (Obamacons) and non-Dems (Obamacans) and put a number of erstwhile red states into play. If he needs some help to connect with some more voters, that doesn't mean the rest of his accomplishments are chopped liver.

Well, actually, I think I could have expressed it better:

It's a given that intelligent voters who actually vote on the issues will have pretty much figured that, even if you don't resonate with the guy that much, voting for Obama is frankly the only sane thing to do.

Trouble is: Better than half the voters are dumb as posts, don't care about issues, and so vote on how they "feel," even though their feelings may largely be based on racism, jealously, disdain, feeling (unreasonably) that they have been condescended to, etc, etc. These people are happy to vote against their own self interest just based on their gut.

I acknowledge Obama seems to have great chemistry with Gen-X and the Millennials and that there is a plausible basis for a Dem resurgence in that, but jeeze, why's he not running away with this thing by 20 points!? It's that achilles' heel of his.

It's a complete drag, but the case nonetheless: It only takes one major "chemistry" weakness like not connecting with idiots to blow an election.

So, yeah, he's gotten plenty far based on his own policy proposals, etc., but he really seems to be limping badly with a quarter mile yet to go in the race.

Getting this sinking feeling...

EW

miceelf 09-17-2008 02:43 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Wow- I just do not cease to be amazed by how deeply partisan Loury is in his antipathy to obama. If anything, he seems to be more entrenched in his view with each passing episode, even Hillary Clinton is more accepting of the Obama candidacy than he is. It's also interesting to watch these diavlogs a couple of days after they were filmed. The expiry date on a lot of these pronouncements is pretty short.

Loury seems insistent on each diavlog on claiming that this or that blip has completely and utterly ended Obama's candidacy, without acknowledging how wrong his past pronouncements have been. I don't claim to know how all of this will turn out, but the notion that the Obama campaign has fatally ended, at this point, with more than 40 days left in the campaign just further betrays Loury's intractable bias.

I would love to see Loury with Robert Wright, who is also an Obama skeptic, but has the advantage of intellectual honesty about him.

Larry Bird 09-17-2008 04:28 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Glenn seems like he would need Obama to kiss his feet to garner his vote. He seems delighted that he's down in the polls. I think it has to do with his girl losing to Obama and also having his theories validated but it comes off really petty. His argument for picking Hillary for VP is basically they are knife fighters you need to win an election, umm didn't Obama kind of blow that theory up in the primary? How about a little credit for not taking the easy route by picking the Clintons and sticking to his convictions that we need a new type of politics that doesn't involve them and the polarizing atmosphere they bring that people are sick of?

bookofdisquiet 09-17-2008 05:20 PM

Re: Expect the worst
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 91338)
While some intelligent people may still be honestly undecided (Colin Powell claims to be an example), it's safe to assume that most undecideds at this stage of a very long game are also undereducated, uninformed and -- I hate to say it -- of subnormal intelligence.

Wow. The only one with "subnormal intelligence" is you for making that utterly ridiculous statement. Of course, you must be right, only those of us with subnormal intelligence might actually wait for the debates until we make a final decision on the candidates. God forbid, those of us uneducated undecideds might actually want to consider all of the available information until we pick a candidate in the most important election in American history.

Wonderment 09-17-2008 05:36 PM

Re: Expect the worst
 
Quote:

Of course, you must be right, only those of us with subnormal intelligence might actually wait for the debates until we make a final decision on the candidates.
Stop lying. You know you're voting for McCain.

popcorn_karate 09-17-2008 06:05 PM

Re: In Defense of Glenn Loury
 
The idea that Glenn Loury does not have an axe to grind here is pretty off base. Glenn clearly wanted Obama to lose in the primaries and he is holding his breath just waiting for Obama to lose in November so he can sigh a big sigh, shake his head once or twice, and say "i told you so - shoulda stuck with the Clintons".

He is also a rather intelligent, perceptive commenter and i take his critiques seriously. But to suggest that he is just "calling them as he sees them" is perhaps, an overstatement.

bookofdisquiet 09-17-2008 06:07 PM

Re: Expect the worst
 
Obama is way out ahead of this financial crisis in important ways.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85hHj1Idjvk

Review his plan at the his website-- it's excellent.

I'm not partisan like yourself. On the economy I'm leaning Obama-- on foreign policy I'm with McCain. I haven't decided which is more important yet. I think fundamentally, both areas are facing critical historical moments for America.

here's a somewhat sappy video for your consideration-- indulge me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4fe...eature=related

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 06:25 PM

Re: The Obama Experience
 
EW:

Thanks for clarifying.

I can't really argue with how you restated your points, and yes, it is discouraging that Obama isn't blowing McCain out of the water in the polls, given the past eight years.

Still, I admire Obama for trying to go the high road for as long as he did, and I am confident that in between his ground game and McCain's increasingly obvious obliviousness -- especially on the economy -- that Obama will win.

bjkeefe 09-17-2008 06:27 PM

Re: Expect the worst
 
books:

Glad to hear that you're undecided for intelligent reasons. Probably there are a few other people like you. Still, I think Wonderment is right, in general, to say that most undecideds at this point are not at all informed citizens.

elementaryteacher 09-17-2008 09:19 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Glenn identifies many of Obama's weaknesses, but he is completely trowels over the issues that Clinton comes with. I know democrats who loathe her for a variety of reasons (not just ideological purity). I voted for the woman in the primary, but I would be foolish if I didn't realize that she comes with a matched Louis Vuitton set of baggage from Bill's presidency.

Obama may not win, and may lose based on his own flaws, but I've heard enough white folks voice that they will NOT vote for him based on his race, to find this troubling. There is a significant slice of the electorate that will not vote for Obama based on race. We'll see if it's enough to throw the race. I think that Glenn is DEAD wrong on this issue because when those folks talk about what is wrong is NOT because he is underqualified, but because they fear his "blackness" (he'll help his people, not me). I find it troubling because if this candidate is "too black" who on earth is acceptable?

rcocean 09-17-2008 09:22 PM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 91254)
It blows my mind that at this stage in American and world history, Glenn Loury thinks the most important thing for him to do is sabatoge the Obama candidacy and help to ensure that McCain is elected. When Brown v. Board of Education is overturned by the McCain Supreme Court, we'll have Glenn to thank.

Glenn,

Love you on BHTV - but I didn't realize you had such power! According to Twinswords you hold America's Future in your hand. Where Glenn goes, there goes the nation.

Anyway, you and John were Great. Especially, your discussion on the type of intelligence needed to be POTUS.
And here's a thought. If Obama loses - it's Obama fault. McCain is a weak candidate, Bush is unpopular, and its a Democratic year.

tarajane 09-18-2008 08:31 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
I strongly identify with Glenn as a Hillary supporter and his comments express how uneasy and ambivalent I am about Obama's candidacy. It would have been heaven at this point to be excited and motivated about the upcoming election with Hillary on the ticket. I feel like a distant observer, unconvinced that Obama would be a good president and unconvinced that McCain is a clone of George Bush. I honestly don't know how I'll vote or if I'll vote in November.

wovenstrap 09-18-2008 10:14 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
I want to amplify what Larry Bird but put it in a stronger form. The two gentlemen were discussing knife fights. One of the most important skills a politician can have is the ability to deal with conflict without making all of the parties feel as if a knife fight has just taken place. The problem with the Clinton method of dealing with conflict is that you always felt like a knife fight had just taken place. The very fact that Glenn can talk about Obama's tranquil qualities after vanquishing Hillary in a conflict that lasted six months is a proof of this. I highly recommend that everyone reading this read Garry Wills, Nixon Agonistes, the chapter on Ike, who had this quality to an incredibly extent, resolving conflict without setting fire to the village as it were. The Hillary approach, in the end, ensures that you have no mandate to govern or govern in such a way that you lose much of your authority in the act of winning what you require. Obama doesn't need that, Obama transcends it (I hope).

seyoyo 09-18-2008 10:32 AM

Re: In Defense of Dumb Presidents
 
Obama objectively has more qualification to be President than Palin. He is a US Senator with four years standing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He actually did study international relations. He has more foreign policy experience than had Ronald Reagan when he became President.


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