President Obama

Reacting to Sullivan's Newsweek Cover Story

Megyn Kelly and Fox News are seriously bent out of shape by Andrew Sullivan's cover story in Newsweek.

And this Breitbart counterpoint is fantastic example of right-wing epistemic closure and the apocalyptic fantasies circulating within it.

Regarding the general defense of the president, I'd like to add that it's not a bad thing that some of us know how to mix applause into our discourse instead of exclusively jeering and snarking -- especially because there are significant things to applaud.

Eventually all of the rancor and screeching becomes white noise and if we never express satisfaction, why should anyone endeavor to please our agenda? A fantastic example of a measured cheer/jeer posture is Rachel Maddow. She can be both critical of the president and applaud him when something positive happens. I don't think anyone would paint her as an apologist or an enabler.

And finally, this clip of Chris Matthews and Sullivan is particularly good. Note the big ticket accomplishments at around 3:24 and the hilarious exchange at around 7:12.

  • Chris Andersen

    I have to agree with both Mathews and Sullivan that Democrats seem to be constitutionally incapable of blowing their own horn. They might be on to something that liberal guilt makes them feel like they can’t brag as long as there is one person out there that they haven’t been able to help.

    And this is a complaint about Obama’s team as well, all the way up to Obama himself. They really do seem to have a problem when it comes to publicizing their successes. It frustrates me almost as much as the incessant whining from the frustrati.

    • Maybe it is more of a belief that what liberals do is only what should be done, because it is the right thing and that isn’t something a person deserves credit for doing….just a thought. I mean have you ever seen someone who does a lot of good in the world actually out there trumpeting what they do? Mother Theresa was a great example of this humble, righteous, and effective approach. It all comes down to humility doesnt it?

      • Chris Andersen

        That may be part of it. But humility and politics are seemingly like oil and water. Winning in politics means you have to say you are better than the other guy. You have to say *why* you are better than the other guy.

        • Well that’s always a conundrum in politics. We always want someone humble in office but to get elected they can’t be humble. I’ve always said that to become President, one has to be pretty narcissistic.

  • D_C_Wilson

    So, Megyn Kelly says Andrew Sullivan isn’t a real reporter. How would she know? She’s never met one.

  • Notice, as Sullivan has, that Fox isn’t anxious to have him on to give his side of the argument. No, they’d rather just slant the article to suit their purposes!!

  • Contrary to right wing beliefs the president is more humble than most people think. He does not trumpet his accomplishments like Clinton and Bush did to win every 24hr news cycle. President Obama does look at the big picture like now other president has in a long time. He knew going in that everything was not going to be fixed in four years or even eight, the direction of the nation needed to be fundamentally changed. He consistently does this in almost every speech he defines what the roll of government should be. Not the caricature the GOP makes government out to be but a system that is efficient and helps promote the welfare of the country’s citizens. Ideological purists have brought us to the brink over and over again and the president is the only true government we have right now with his sensible pragmatism.

    • D_C_Wilson

      What kills me is that they’ll say he’s a dictator yet he fails to lead. He’s an appeaser but is arrogant. They don’t even care that their attacks on him are completely contradictory.

  • First of all, I don’t think you or we need to defend “defending the president”. I think his record alone defends his presidency quite well, and all we do is to point out the obvious fallacies and lies that come from both the right and the left. That’s really all that Sullivan did.

    And frankly, I don’t give a damn what the emoprogs say about us; for all I care, they can call us apologists, obots, whatevs, for the next millenia, and it won’t matter a damn bit to me because it simply isn’t based on facts, and I don’t allow name calling to determine my positions.

    As to Breitbart and company, as well as the Fox liars, did you really expect anything different? The Right will continue to lie, even though people such as Breitbart are certainly aware that they are outright lying. This is just what they do. And in this case, they will certainly not allow teh black man to take any credit for anything at all if they can prevent it.

    That said, it isn’t the Right that we need to influence (and they are so gone from decency and reality that it isn’t possible anyway), it is the Left. And the only real influence we need to have on the emoprogs is to convince them not to act like bratty children in election day so they don’t sit at home or vote third party out of spite. The best way to do this, in my opinion, and I know you probably disagree, is to knock down their leading players—-Greenwald, Hamsher, Sirota, et al, and expose them for the opportunists and racists that they are. Hell, they’re like the pied pipers of doom, so no, I have no hesitation in treating them like the bad people that I believe them to be.

    As to Sullivan’s piece, overall I loved it, and I think it was factual and insightful, which is a welcome change from the whining and shrieking that we hear all the time (about the Pres).

    I don’t agree with Sullivan that the Pres is a centrist. I think that on some things he has had to move to the center in order to accomplish anything, but that does not make him a centrist.

    • mrbrink

      Yeah, I don’t think he’s a centrist either, but I don’t care if people like Sullivan want to keep saying it publicly without derision. Go ahead. Keep telling the country he’s a centrist, I don’t care, as long as it gives comfort to the layperson, moderates and independents, or if it helps Democrats get elected by aligning them with a “centrist” president who has a belly full of liberal achievements to digest with room for dessert.

      I think that the policies he’s signed off on that could be considered centrist, or retro-republican, are part of the evolution of navigating political realities with a more open mind. You won’t get any good done waiting for the perfect legislation to end up on the president’s desk, but if you get your progressive legislation to the president’s desk, he’ll sign it.

      Now how do you get it there? Hmmmm.

      President Obama is much closer to the Congressional Progressive Caucus than the Tea Party= not centrist.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    I see what you mean about the “Breitbart counterpoint,” although the child himself did not write it. What it basically does is double down on the fiction, mainly using the basic formula, “Sullivan says [X], but ignores [Y],” where [Y] is either simply a direct, unqualified restatement of the fiction that [X] debunks, or a subjective non-sequitur reciting some random Republican talking points, again grounded in those fictions that only exist in the Fox/GOP universe. In other words, it’s just line after line of “Sullivan says [Z] is not true, but ignores the fact that [Z] is true.” [Or, to use an alternative formulation, “Sullivan says that Obama has been a good president who has done good things, but ignores the fact that Obama is a shitty president who has ruined everything.”]

    It’s obvious that people living in that universe are unpersuadable. A Republican president could rape a Girl Scout on the White House lawn and they’d forgive, forget, ignore, and support him, whereas a Democratic president could cut taxes to zero and rename the White House the Reagan House and they’d still hate and vilify him (or her).

    They’re not alone in seeking only validation instead of information and understanding; I think most people are like that. Inter alia, it’s what our educational system produces. We can only hope that there are a lot fewer people living inside that bubble than the TV, radio and blogosphere would have us believe.

    • Graf I always respect what you have to say but can we nix the rape metaphors? Many bloggers like myself got on Glenn Greenwald’s case and a twitter supporter of his for criticizing Obama supporters using just such a metaphor. In the interest of holding ourselves to the same standard as we hold them, I would advise against using the term rape. Of course you can tell me to go take a leap…

  • Dan_in_DE

    Great post, Bob!

    I’m being nitpicky, but there’s a little grammar error at the end of the third paragraph with “things to applause”.

    Also, I feel compelled to add here that there are plenty of Hamsherite and Greenwaldian -type commenters out there who consider Maddow to be in the tank for Obama. I’ll bet they have some great theories on why that is, too! Like, “she’s probably just doing it for the Soros checks.” Funny how so many of the the emoprog arguments sound like they could have come from Glenn Beck..

    • So true these emoprogs have even turned on people like Paul Krugman for the same reason. Even though he criticizes the president for not doing enough they cannot accept that Krugman categorically says Obama’s and Bernake’s policies kept us from going into the abyss.

      I always say Obamanots on the left for lack of a better term are just intellectually dishonest. The vast vast majority of the president’s supporters have no problem listing what they don’t like about the president but even though Obama has many liberal accomplishments the Obamanots refuse to recognize them and only list their ‘dissapointments’.

  • ranger11

    I don’t know why it became so uncool to indicate or show support for this president. Don’t get it. Was the come-down so steep from the heights of the ’08 campaign?

    • Dan_in_DE

      That’s definitely part of it, ranger. Those who were just all swept up in the Hope-mentum never stopped to look at the reality of the candidate Obama for one, and a lot of them are severly deluded about how our government works. They think that if only Obama would fight hard enough for liberal things, that all of those things would be well within reach. We often hear that Obama needs to get angry — such an annoying meme — and the people suggesting this seem to think that really liberal stuff would happen if only Obama were as pissed off as they are.

    • No. It is racism and the need for some white folks to disrespect the black man no matter his accomplishments…it happens every day in this country. President Obama’s election just put it on full display. White men are threatened even more so now because a black man has penetrated the world’s MOST EXCLUSIVE club.

      • It’s not ALL racism. There are tons of people who were super excited for Obama who are now bashing him or playing the “I’m disappointed” card. They’re misguided folks that thought Obama was going to be the far-left George W. Bush, just doing whatever the hell he wanted, but they’re not all racists. That’s a wide brush to paint with.

        • Scopedog

          I do agree that it isn’t all racism Razor–more like unreasonable, sky-high expectations that could never, in any sane universe, be met.

          On the other hand….I also think some people felt they were voting for President Bagger Vance. Just sayin’.