Call me a Firebagger, but , while I support Obama’s decision to affirm that Muslims have normal property rights, I don’t think it was the most courageous political move evah. Sure, Politico has produced 80 articles on it in the past 24 hours, but in a few days Sarah Palin will put out a brilliant new wolf-shooting helicopter-mama video or John Thune will do surprisingly well in the Des Moines Rotary Club’s straw poll or Bill Cosby will criticize Michelle Obama’s trip to Spain or someone will bomb Iran, and CordobaGate will be mostly forgotten, even among Morning Joe viewers.
Nate Silver makes a good statistical case that “Palin and Gingirch will scream and shout, but they may be doing little more than preach to the converted”. Jon Chait takes the long-term view (which I agree with strongly):
I think this will pay long-term political dividends for Democrats. There’s a classic pattern of Democrats cementing the allegience of minority groups by standing up for them when those groups sit outside the mainstream culture, and thus when there’s a real political price to defending them. Fifty years from now, Muslims will be voting heavily Democratic because they’ll remember that Obama defended their rights when it was unpopular to do so.
DC insiders think this issue is a big deal because they read Politico and watch Morning Joe and forget that most winger poutrages are only famous for fifteen minutes. I have to believe that most Americans have bigger problems than worrying about where in Manhattan to build a new Islamic community center.
Point taken, but remember our culture’s allergy to long-term thinking — especially when there’s an election around the corner. I don’t think “this will help the Democrats in 50 years” negates the fact that it took some political courage to make this stand today.
Compared to, say, Lyndon Johnson signing away the South with the Civil Rights Act, no. But it was a breath of fresh air in the immense amount of bullshit surrounding this story. I don’t think it will be forgotten: in fact, I think it will become another ACORN or birth certificate, something for wingers to mutter about to each other as proof of his enduring evil, even when they’ve got their facts ass-wrong.
Okay you’re a Firebagger. :)
Seriously, Obama jeopardized his presidency by picking a side here. I think the nail in the coffin will be the final dedication and consecration of the community center when it’s completed. He chose to align himself with the values that made this country what it is today, and it will cost him in the short term. In fact watch a new round of birther stories to come out of all of this. Having said that, I’m so fucking proud of his stand.
Well, particularly given his kinda-sorta-not-really-but-it-looked-like-it walkback today.
Digby had a very good take on it:
And here I thought he’d taken my advice….
I don’t buy that he walked it back. That’s just player-hating, pure and simple.
This is like FDR nominating Frankfurter. There are people who to this day won’t vote for someone who isn’t a Democrat.
Would you vote the party that wants to blow you up to make jeebus happy or the party that treats you like a human?
It should be that the president upholding first amendment rights should just be part and parcel of his job description, warranting nothing more than a shrug in recognition that he’s doing his job somewhat competently.
The fact that doing his job requires a certain amount of conviction in the face of millions of red-faced, screaming citizens calling for the denial of said basic and fundamental rights to… their fellow citizens… is one of those things that makes living in this country, at this time, somewhat uncomfortable.
@DougJ: No it’s not, my friend. I think I am well on record as not being a hater of anyone, not least this particular player. I am not being whiny, I am being disappointed, and agreeing with your main point that it wasn’t particularly brave.
It reads as a walkback, to those looking for it, and if you’re going to take a stand, take one, that’s all I’m saying. He finally did and then — careful analysis at WaPo (ptooie, I know) reveals — he didn’t REALLY take it back, but it just made a mess of what had been a very thrilling thing: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/did_obama_walk_back_his_suppor.html
Also, you’ll note that I said “kinda-sorta-not-really-but-it-looked-like-it.”
One is allowed to be disappointed.
What JamesC said.
Let me clarify: I think Digby is player-hating, not you.
ellaesther, I didn’t see it as walking it back. He was saying that he wasn’t addressing the religious issue as much as the rights of Americans. As TPM put it They have the right to build on private property. We’re Americans. We’d don’t discriminate on the basis of religion. Even the AP, more accurately, refers to the president “expanding” on his statement, though perhaps better to say ‘countering willful distortion.’
I think the President’s standing up for our Constitution will pay short-term dividends as well. Maybe not super-short-term dividends, like the 2010 election, but definitely in 2012. Because the teabaggers and various self-proclaimed conservatives keep cranking up the crazy, and even people who don’t follow politics are aware that Sarah Palin is nuts, Republicans are racist, and conservatives hate teh gheys.
It kind of seeps into the ether, just like knowing that Lindsay Lohan went to jail and Mel Gibson may have beat up his wife. I don’t know how I know those things, and I don’t really care to know them. But I still know them. And non-political people are starting to know that teabaggers, conservatives, and Republicans are crazy.
Lindsay Lohan’s in jail? When did that happen?
@DougJ: Whiners whine. Gibbs said, and he was right.
I think that Obama said exactly the right thing regarding the principles of freedom of religion. I don’t think there was any weaseling or walking back. The bit about any project having to be in accordance with the laws and regs of NYC was just a recognition of reality. The president has no business interfering with local issues, but does have business affirming that local business must recognize separation of church and state and freedom of religion.
The political problem is that this kind of thing is now, and always has been, too subtle for electoral politics. The GOP seems intent on turning itself into a modern incarnation of the Know Nothing Party, and at this point, I hope the GOP meets the same fate. The current GOP needs to be destroyed.
My only concern is that I think Obama and the WH should have used their supposed clarification to attack the fear and prejudice mongers. The GOP is saying and doing stupid and dangerous things, as if they decided that Father Coughlin and the John Birch Society were appropriate strategy.
Obama needs to be seen to be strong and aggressive in attacking irresponsible and irrational nonsense from the GOP. But he is Mr Postpartisan as always.
@Yutsano: Do you remember the Dubai Ports World controversy? Wingers were freaking out then as well and the deal went through and no one is bringing that issue up anymore. I think this issue will die down very soon. The wingers will find another issue related to scary brown people or Muslims to freak out about.
Honestly, at this point, the president is pretty much screwed no matter what he does or doesn’t do. A sizable portion of the country was going to hate him whichever side he chose (if he did, indeed, have to choose a side), so I give him props for choosing the right side–or rather, the left side. I will be honest and say I skipped all the walking-back threads (did he? didn’t he?), so I can’t say anything about that.
I have stayed out of the Gibbs brouhaha, well, mostly because I think it’s stupid, but partly because I really am just sick and tired of the poutrage that is happening, all over the spectrum. And, I happen to think Gibbs was right. Stupid for saying it like that, but right. Nothing the president does will be good enough for some on the left–that’s just the way it is, baby.
Huffpo’s headline/main story right now is absolute proof that Gibbs was right.
@DougJ: Well, I still disagree, but I am comforted!
In my own, very wee little way, I have been on Barack Obama to be bold and state categorically that there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim since the campaign. I was happy about the Cairo speech, but really feel it’s important — both on an American Values level, and as part of the post-9/11 healing process — that he deal with Islam inside America, particularly given the way it’s wielded as a “slur” against him. I was very, very excited that he finally did that, and then to have him “clarify,” even if it didn’t actually change much, was just plain disappointing. (To see me being on his case since the campaign, you can click on the link above, where I also posted a piece I ran in the Detroit Free Press back in ’08).
@Emma: It is possible that I am tired and easily disappointed these days, and so jumped to a disappointed conclusion here…. I will admit that (but please don’t tell DougJ), and hope that the morning dawns with a better, more upbeat reading than what I suspect will be out there.
Also, it’s worth saying that having the President of the United States say anything positive and welcoming and First Amendment-y about Islam is a very good thing, and may very well start a conversation that takes us good places. Fingers crossed. I have not yet turned in my Obot badge.
But how am I supposed to feel about this without a Sully link?
@asiangrrlMN: I am completely poutraged by your centrist comment! Purity of Essence is all! To the barricades!
Banish these reasonable Minnesotans. They are vipers in our breast.
I agree that it is not the most courageous political move of all time (can we hear some nominees for that award, btw). But it did take courage, in large part because he wasn’t obligated to say anything at all. He could have just kept on sending Gibbs out to say “it’s a local issue” and everyone would have shrugged. Instead he voluntarily chose the 30% side of a 70/30 issue because that’s what the Constitution says. I respect that.
I can’t stop the media from pretending there was a walkback but I really don’t think there was. Nate Silver argued recently that there are two separate issues: do they have the right to build it (most people will grudgingly admit they do) and is it a good idea for them to build it (most people say no). The reason why Nate is wrong and why the President nailed it is that these questions are not equivalent in importance. The fact that it’s a Constitutional right is the beginning and end of the discussion, and the “wisdom” of building it is water-cooler talk at best. Maybe people need to be trained to remember our core values, but the President did very well to remind people that this issue is really about the Constitution and nothing else.
By the way, DougJ is guilty of one of my least favorite liberal habits when he snarks about Obama “affirming that Muslims have normal property rights.” Yes, it’s a no-brainer under the Constitution, but to us liberals, everything is always a no-brainer. Someone could cast, for example, a really tough vote against a partial-birth abortion ban, and instead of praising them for voting the right way, someone will inevitably be like “oh, I’m supposed to be glad they’re willing to let pregnant women select their medical procedures like other human beings?” I hate that. In a time when 70% of the country apparently doubts whether Muslims have normal property rights, it’s a big deal for the President to say that they do.
Agree with all of this. I think the President is going to have a hard time making a “there are good Muslims” speech because it’s used as a slur against him, and as such his detractors will just accuse him of standing up for “his kind” or whatever offensive term they may use. The most recent President Bush did say words to that effect, to his credit, and yet the rabid teabaggers don’t seem to remember that at all.
I wish Obama would be a bit more forceful about a lot of things. But it’s not his style. And sometimes I think maybe it serves him well. Othertimes, not so much. I still have my Obot badge, though.
I commend you for getting on this early. You were right.
Obama couldn’t come out and support the construction of the community center. He couldn’t because the president can’t be in the position of endorsing local projects because he can’t be seen overriding local officials and local communities. Further, he can’t because the federal government cannot be endorsing specific religious projects. There’s nothing legally preventing it, but doing so just opens up problems and he’s best to avoid it.
I think he did it right.
And atheism. The fact that he came right out and said in unequivocal terms that atheists also deserve equal respect in the public sphere is a huge sea change in the national conversation, probably as big as his statement in support of Islam. No other President or even national leader has made such a clear statement on faith or lack thereof as Obama did last night. But I r an Obot. :)
@Anya: Sort of:
Georgie Boy wanted it but they decided to sell the asset rather than get mired in controversy. So that ended up being more of a punt than anything. But you’re right in that it faded quickly after the sale.
Incidentally the new owners? A subsidiary of AIG.
Josh Marshall has a good post on this, and he seems about as shrill about the Politico filth as the front pagers on this blog.
Marshal quotes another crypto-Muslim, dhimmitudian, treasonous president on freedom of religion. This slimebag probably belongs with Jimmy Carter at the top of the list of the most monstrous people in US history. Can you guess who it is?
“All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
Yup, after the past few months at TPM I had doubts, but the kid’s got a pulse.
Pump It Up.
Nothing quite like calmly pointing to a map saying, “Proposed site is here, ground zero is here.” Rinse and repeat.
Sophie Scholl and the White Rose movement in Nazi Germany get my vote for most courageous political move ever. It’s hard to get more bold than challenging the Nazis in Berlin during the war.
More generally, there was no walkback. Saying his opinion isn’t involved is exactly the RIGHT thing to do. This is about what America stands for. Whether we agree with it or not is irrelevant. Just like the fucking Illinois Nazis had a right to march in Skokie.
Actually this is the second straight President to say warm and fuzzy things about Islam. Frankly, for Bush to come out immediately after 9/11 and talk about how Islam is a peaceful religion and all that was maybe the best thing he ever did in his Presidency. You could make a case that Bush consistently did all the right things to promote good relations with Islam, other than the part where he invaded those countries and killed thousands of Muslims of course.
@DougJ: Thank you! That’s very kind of you to say! I have convinced myself that my op/ed was the final thing that pushed the campaign into the “being a little less paranoid about the Muslim thing” zone, and LALALALALA I can’t hear anyone who tells me that they never even saw it. LALALALALA! I said!
PS Anyone who references Elvis Costello in a blogpost headline is miles ahead of the pack, as far as I’m concerned.
Everyone knows that President was a sekrit soshulist Jebus-hating Muslin.
I saw on the Daily Show and a NYT story that there already is a mosque (a real mosque, pure and simple) four (4) ((FOUR!)) blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.
Should we tear that one down?
Should we have breathless reports of the sermons from spies, combing over every word and pause and phrase looking for ‘insensitive’ statements?
How about a public shaming campaign of the mosque, without bothering to look into what they do at all, on the general and, in the US right now, very pervasive and strong motives of pants pissing fear and ignorant, crude, bigotry?
Maybe brave patriots should go harrass the mosque.
Or is the magic line for ‘insensitively close’ three blocks?
Or is this whole business as stupid as the gay marriage fuss?
I will answer the last question: yes sirree.
@Yutsano: So you’re saying you want me to blog pimp more? Ok then!
The atheism shout-out at his inauguration made me flat-out cry (well – cry more. I was already crying, let’s be honest). I wasn’t blogging at the time, but when that chapter of my life began, I found an excuse to post this: http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/on-godless-heathens/
(I confess to not yet having read the entire speech, so I didn’t know he’d brought atheists into the American fold again. As a Mideast geek, I was very fixated on the mosque thing. Thank you for letting me know – now I’ll go read the whole thing!)
For all of the clubby types that hate me, I love me some DougJ. Always have.
And this thread is why.
Preach on brother DougJ. You are the only reason I still give this blog any clicks.
I spent most of the 2003-2008 years reading wingnuts. He speaks my language.
Thanks. Sometimes I fear I overdo it with the Elvis lyrics.
More than anything else (except, perhaps, money) taking the long view is what won Obama the election. As it turned out, anyone stupid enough to be convinced by Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers didn’t need convincing in the first place. Incidentally, this is precisely why John Kerry should’ve either (a) ignored Swiftboating entirely or (b) come up with a way to counter it that involved making Bush look like an idiot rather than having Kerry defend his own honor. Axelrod went on Morning Joe all of the time, but he just did it to shoot the shit rather than engage in petty “who won the week” stuff. Compare any David Plouffe appearance to any Mark Penn appearance during the primaries.
The greatest failure in the whole election was when McCain bought into the idea that the media-created PUMA movement actually represented more than a handful of American women… and gave us Sarah Palin.
@Steve: No, you’re right about Bush there — on both counts.
And you, too, are forcing me to blog pimp. It’s rampant, I tell you!
Here’s a small sample of the many statements/fatwas/etc made by Muslims categorically rejecting terrorism: http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/muslim-responses-to-extremism/
And just as we are fortunate to have physicists to tell us what our music really sounds like, despite what our lying ears are saying, we should have psychologists present to tell us what we ought to be thinking about as we surf that day’s news and events.
Can you guys arrange that? Thanks! Maybe BOB is available?
Dear, I didn’t get Jewish genes just to be an idiot. I KNOW there is no telling a Jewish mother what to do once her mind is set on something. So even if I considered deterring you (which incidentally I didn’t) I know it would be a fruitless exercise.
And out of nowhere I want kugel.
@DougJ: Unpossible good sir. :)
@ellaesther: thanks for that link. I have some relatives who have been saying that Muslims did not properly condemn the attacks. So, I have a good use for your link.
Why’d you stop? They’re more entertaining now than ever. I only stopped when I started blogging here, I figured people would get sick of me if all I did was make fun of Powerline.
@jl: You are on fire tonight! Keep going. And, as for calling me a centrist, that’s a night on the virtual couch for you, FH#4! #Wifey-glare#
@ellaesther: Well, he didn’t exactly give a shout-out to the atheists–he said nonbelievers. I know because I was kinda live-blogging the inauguration, and I couldn’t believe he had said that. I was touched that he gave me a shout-out.
Oooooh, dueling blog-whoring posts!
Obama still deserves lots of credit for doing the right thing. We live in an era where doing the right thing is insanely rare.
@DougJ: You’re talking to a woman whose husband brought every.single.Elvis.Costello.album.ever.made into the marriage. It’s like being in my own living room.
@Yutsano: Oh! I actually have a lovely kugel in my freezer! Not made my me, but purchased from an excellent source! I see tomorrow night’s dinner from here….
@jl: Yay! This is exactly what I’m hoping people will do with that post – send it on into the world where it might change or expand one or two conversations. The folks who come to my blog are likely to agree with me on the issue generally, but we can all always use a little more good information as we fight the good fight.
Omar Khadr? Yes, the Obama administration truly is a despicable, monstrous…
Oh shit, you guys are still falling headlong into the trap on that one? Keep your eyes on each other, and not those in power. Bicker, bicker, bicker. Snipe, snipe, snipe.
A committed civil servant was accidentally incinerated in Yemen recently from a mile high in the sky. He was trying to negotiate with al Qaeda. Turns out they all look alike from that distance.
US special forces are running clandestine operations in Costa Rica, “training” San Jose’s beleaguered police force. And acting as their navy. Because they don’t have one, and can’t handle the new drug trafficking that’s going down on their shores.
Omar Khadr is getting sent up for life in prison on crimes against humanity, after throwing a live ordinance in a firefight. He is not a prisoner of war and will not be detained as such, because the Global War on Terror doesn’t end. Ever. He is being prosecuted with an “admission” culled from his torture sessions. He was 15 when arrested. Bush tortures child soldiers and Obama prosecutes them. In his shiny new military commissions. The military is actively obstructing press operations at Gitmo. It’s 2010.
But yes, it’s probably the Huffington Post’s fault. Also, the Professional Left. Them too.
@asiangrrlMN: I would challenge you to a glove slapping duel over our duel blog whoring, but now it is my bedtime, and I’m going to sleep…. Please slap yourself with a glove in my absence, and think of me fondly!
@ellaesther: This situation of course can be remedied:
Saw her make this and all I could think was NOM!! Plus it’s REALLY easy.
I don’t even bother trying anymore with the wingnuts I know. It’s useless and they just get angry. Where I live, if you refuse to be friends with wingnuts you’ll be lonely. So I tend to put up with the wingnut crap to a certain extent. I consider it an anthropological study.
@DougJ: True — I did stop reading and focused only on listening. But I’ve got a new IP now and have jumped back in — this time on the side of the good guys forever — even if they won’t ever publish my comments.
@ellaesther: You got it. I will gladly do so with pleasure.
He’s such an optimist. I wonder what country he’s talking about?
The United States of Muslimland, if Obama gets his way.
I mostly quit after Spike. The last really good one was Blood and Chocolate, IMHO.
Thank you for that, Steve. What Obama did was show leadership and a little courage, too, and the instant reductivism he gets for it is mildly infuriating. You can parse his words any way you want, but he took a stand and deserves some respect.
@asiangrrlMN: snark tag wasn’t enough to keep me out of the doghouse, huh? Oh well. I’ll get my blankee and hope it is not too cold in the frozen north.
Speaking of which. On my vacation, the weather was wonderful in CA all the way down the Central Valley to San Diego.
Except in a certain Bay Area I call home. I think I’ve seen actual sunshine that makes shadows about 6 hours since I got back three days ago.
I’m thinking about another short vacation to alter that.
@Bob Loblaw: That is another issue. Check out what happens when Cole posts on the next outrage on that front, and then I will listen.
@ellaesther: Thanks again for that link.
Now about that kugel…. can you email those?
@jl: You couldn’t tell I was snarking you back? I guess I forgot my own snark tag!
Yeah, the Bay Area is not known for copious amounts of sun. I hated the weather when I lived in the East Bay. I would posit we actually get more sun here in MN than does San Francisco (with the exception of the Mission District). Where you off to this time?
@asiangrrlMN: Well, right now I am going off to sleep. Hiked 20 miles today, and then went to the gym.
Probably go to Sierras or Klamaths to do some hiking, to put my practice into practice.
Someday I will visit this sunny Minneapolis you speak of. It sounds sunny, like California, which lies a tantalizing three or four miles from where I live.
How are you holding up under the oppressive MN sun and heat?
Hey Bob, did you even look at HP’s headline right now? Please take a peek even though you think it’s beneath you to do so. It’s basically more antiObama propaganda from “the left”. And it does matter. It matters because lefty poser sites like HP help to keep the fight going between the left and the far left…this is their function, their raison detre – to distract and divide us and it works like a charm.
“I have to believe that most Americans have bigger problems than worrying about where in Manhattan to build a new Islamic community center”.
You’ll be singing a different tune after Milton Burl, Sid Caesar, and Jackie Gleason get in their two bits during the upcoming week. New York City is-and-always-will-be the Center Of The World.
The President certainly didn’t walk his remarks back. On the contrary, what he said was fairly minimalistic to begin with. If the right wing wished to, they could come back with the argument they agree with the President that the building can’t be legally blocked, but that it’s still a travesty, and they have as much of a right to speak out against it and call for Muslims to refudiate it as the people have to build it.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I sort of wish the President would say something stronger. On the other hand, it is a local matter. And given that the right wing is likely to flip out no matter what he says, the more unobjectionable it is, the more insane the right wing will appear.
Of course I saw it. I was feinting ignorance, perhaps it didn’t read right.
You’re thinking about the wrong division, tail. It isn’t about the left rising against one against the right. It’s about the criminal vs. the not.
Obama is not a good man. He gave up that distinction. He is a bad person, and his administration does inhumane things on a routine basis around the world. Just like his predecessors.
If you want to hold him up high for having the “decency” to repudiate assaults on First Amendment rights in public and plead for religious tolerance in the “freest nation in the history of man,” go ahead. He could have done much worse that day. Much worse. But ask yourselves this: how much lower can the bar be set before it has no meaning? And what kind of world will that look like?
I agree almost entirely with your post, except I wouldn’t put too much faith in Jon Chait. He’s been wrong about almost everything for the last ten years, so I think his prognostications fifty years out are questionable at best.
Good post. I think you stumble on something with the 15 minute poutrage comment. I think a lot of people would just like Obama to rise above these little mock outrages. He doesn’t have to do anything differently beyond that – the healthcare reform bill can come out just like it did, everything can happen just like it happened – people just want Obama to speak out strongly for the truth and hope that his words will last longer than the 15 minutes of outrage. Of course the risk is that he’ll actually make the outrage and bullshit last longer by joining in the mix (beer summits, etc.) but I wonder. I think truth is more sustainable than faux outrage, but I could be wrong.
So your assessment that he “walked back” today is based on what?
OK Bob, I’m going to back away now…very slowly…no sudden moves, I promise.
Among rational actors yes. For those that are dominated by the lizard part of the brain, I wonder. Especially for those that feel they can get political advantage by concentrating on the emotional attacks rather than the facts and logic of a situation. There’s a great phrase my brother taught me: People is dumb. They will choose to be led by those that make more noise and create more fear in them. In other words, we probably wouldn’t be dealing with half the shit that we are now.
Gibbs was right.
Why I’m pessimistic that this is a nine-days’ wonder and will fade quickly: Recall that the occasion of Obama’s remarks was the start of Ramadan. The Ramadan fast ends with a major feast day, analogous for Muslims to Christmas. Really big feast.
Guess when it is this year? Go on, you’ll never guess…
I firmly believe the GOP is fully aware of this, and cackling with glee. If you think the yells of “they may have the right, but is it right?” are loud now, just wait until the demands start that all Muslims everywhere in the U.S. cancel their Eid ul-Fitr celebrations out of sensitivity to Sept. 11 victims.
The GOP thinks they’ve found the wedge that will get them Congress back this November. They’re not going to let this go. It’s going to get uglier. Lots uglier.
I take it back; he was quoted out of context. It’s late and time for bed.
We could probably use a few more “insane” people like me deciding the fate of Omar Khadr. Too bad for him, I guess.
I hope Gibbs can point me in the direction of a good rehabilitation facility.
@Fax Paladin: Huh? The Republicans are going to win the election by demanding that all peaceful Muslims refudiate Ramadan? And here I would have thought the economy was key.
@jl: Night! Right now, it’s a very refreshing 63 degrees, but usually, I just swain around like a prima donna and just bitch about the heat.
@E.D. Kain: I think its a bit more involved than that. At least among the left, I’m convinced the problem he’s having with liberals is that he doesn’t get out there and give the liberal line. He can do precisely what they want, but if he’s not saying ‘Healthcare should be a universal right’ or ‘Corporations are evil’ or whatever it is they’re looking for, then they’re going to be unfulfilled with what’s been done.
They didn’t eventually rally around Obama (most of them didn’t start with him to begin with) in order to fix the problems that came under Bush. They rallied around him in order to get validation that conservative ideas were bad and that they weren’t living in a right-of-center nation. Obama’s simply not willing to do that.
Personally, I think that’s a good thing. I think if Obama was out there speaking out against corporations and the rich and so on, that the GOP would be relying on much more rational arguments to get their candidates elected. Obama isn’t giving them much to work with, however, and so their arguments are getting less and less sensible.
That couldn’t possibly be because he’s not a liberal, amirite? If anything Obama is maddeningly a centrist who leans left every now and again. The only reason he appears liberal is because the right in this country has gone so far over that even a moderate conservative is a huge liberal in their eyes. This doesn’t change my support for him in any way, but I’m not projecting on him things that he simply is not. And I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing either.
I agree with this completely. That and he has the hugest luck in political enemies.
Stop the stupidity!!! I mean, let’s see what happens. Obama takes a sensible, un-impeachable position in a speech for Iftar at the start of Ramadan. He says that everyone should have the right to build a place of worship subject to local laws and ordnances. He affirms the rights of Americans by a particularly meaningful “this is america” (the way he said it it should have been “This is America, muthafuckas!”)
He also talked about the hallowed ground of 9/11, about religious freedom generally in the context of US history.
The next day in response to a question about the reactions to his speech he says – look, I was talking about something so basic – the right to build etc. – he said nothing about the wisdom of building a mosque. People are saying now that he hinted that he thinks it’s unwise but that’s just crap. The point is that it doesn’t matter what he thinks or anyone else for that matter, Constitution trumps everything and the rights to build the mosque matter more than someone’s hurt feelings (even if you can understand those feelings). That is an incredibly important thing to say, I think.
Neera Tanden had a post in TNR saying that Obama’s speech on the mosque now showed whether or not the left would have Obama’s back – I think the horrific headlines in HuffPo, GG withdrawing his praise (!) and Digby and the like (as per the discussion above) show that the Professional Left – rather than having Obama’s back – actively looks for opportunities to trip him up. Gibbs was right and it is so depressing to see.
Next up, Warren’s nomination isn’t praised because Obama’s introductory remarks aren’t strong enough. After that, DADT repeal will happen at the end of the year after the military review and liberals will complain that he only did it because the military review gave him cover.
Nothing this man does is good enough for the liberal blogosphere.
@homerhk: I don’t know who the primary target was of the “professional left” comment, but I have to think that HuffPo is _high_ on the list. I find Digby maudlin and tedious, Atrios just devoid of sustance, and Greenwald insufferable, but at least they believe in things. HuffPo just stirs shit and spews it every which way, and then wraps it up in an ironic T-shirt and Rivers Cuomo glasses and calls it “left.”
@DougJ: First, you can never have too much Elvis Costello. Period.
Second, did you give Momofuku a listen? Half the songs on there sound like they were ripped straight from the recording sessions for Armed Forces or This Year’s Model. “No Hiding Place” and “Go Away” especially!
@Yutsano: I disagree that Obama is a centrist, but that might just be a matter of definition. To me, a centrist is someone who takes a middle position to hold some percentage of the opposition party. That’s clearly what Clinton was doing – some of his positions were specifically to make the electoral math go in a certain way.
I don’t see that happening with Obama. He’s not opposing things that liberals are suggesting but that could get passed. He’s opposing things that liberals are suggesting because they can’t get passed. He’s taking the position that gets Nelson or Snowe on board so that something shows up on his desk. Liberals want him to go out there and give the barn burner speech and magically think it’ll shame the Republicans or Nelson or whoever into supporting the bill. Obama made that point clear enough in his question time when he called the GOP out for backing themselves in a corner where they were forced to oppose everything because they’ve convinced their base that everything a socialist plot. How does anyone square that truth with better legislation through Obama getting louder and more ideological? To my view, the only thing people will get by demanding this from Obama is worse legislation.
So I see Obama advocating for what’s possible, not what’s ideal. That may make him a progressive rather than a liberal, but it doesn’t make him any less effective than any other Democrat would be in the same circumstances. I can’t help but interpret the complaints from those on the left as preferring a Michael Moore in the White House – someone who will speak out, even if they got nothing done. I’m not cool with that – I don’t need a cheerleader, I need shit fixed.
I would love to hear the rationale on how atrios is devoid of substance by a patron of Balloon Juice, which has to be dragged kicking and screaming into having even the slightest discussions of substance on matters economic or military. Let’s not throw glass stones through rock houses here.
Does anyone remember any objections to the building of Catholic Churches due to the terrorism of the IRA? Even in England?
But then again, a bit of terrorism along the frontier was regularly used as justification for genocidal attacks on Native Americans. So maybe we are just returning to form here.
I like Atrios, but it is usually pretty skippable. He seems to follow the “heh, indeedy” method of blogging. The commenters there often have much more to offer than Atrios does, but who wants to dig through 300 iterations of inside jokes, “goodnight Johnboy”s, “frist!”s, and so on.
8o% of the time it is lame. There, I said it.
Like I said, Xenos, and this separates him from BJ how?
Exactly. The Professional Left, the Far Left, the AntiObama Left (whatever you want to call them) go out of their fucking way to disparage the President. They look for shit to bitch about and it never stops. For far too long these fuckers have been running smear campaigns with absolute impunity. This has nothing to do with people being overly sensitive to criticism of the President but that’s how it always gets framed. No one on the TV or the blogs (BJ is a rare exception) ever calls out the left with any consistency. Gibbs was right, the professional left are a bunch of insufferable whiners who look for things to complain about and are never satisfied with anything. And no, they don’t have Obama’s back, quite the opposite is true.
@chaseyourtail: they should all remember this shitstorm about a non-clarification of something the next time they want the President to use his Bully Pulpit or to weigh in on something controversial. Why should he do so in the future if he knows that no matter what he says, the words will be twisted against him by the very people who are supposed to support him. They just can’t take yes for an answer. Fuck them all.
@homerhk: Yep, and the truly sad part is there is legitimate criticism to be made. I think the President would be the first to admit he hasn’t been perfect. But the legitimate criticism gets washed in with all the ridiculous (and seemingly spiteful) griping and nothing gets accomplished in the way of sending Obama a clear and respectful message about what we’d like to see him to do better. Overall though, I think he is doing a very good job considering all that he has to oversee and I support him. I have his back.
Yes, yes, yes. Why the hell can’t Olbermann see what HP is all about? Or does HP and MSNBC have some secret agreement that they must be BFFs and swim in each other’s echo chamber?
Gibbs might be my new patron saint.
The professional left can always be counted on to make lemons out of lemonade and find the cloud in every silver lining.
@Cacti: Right. The problem with the PL is they do nothing but complain. It’s almost become a kind of white noise at this point. And when they’re finally called out on their constant grumbling, they fly into a collective rage and scream, “we’ve been punched”…they’re always getting “punched” you know.
why are we even talking about this while we are STILL pouring more blood and treasure into afghanistan?
if the media could focus on the Wikileaks docs we could leave.
the Wikileaks docs PROVE the war is immoral, unjust and unwinnable……and we are LOSING BADLY.
why can’t we just go home?
There are approximately as many Muslims here as Jews, I believe, and their votes count just as much.
Given the time, place and people, Obama said exactly the right thing.
Obama’s only mistake is in overestimating the intelligence of the media, including the Professional Left. This is too subtle a point for them. It is not the president’s place to take a stand on a particular building project, which is being handled quite well by the local officials. It is his place to reaffirm the Constitutional right of Muslims or any other group to not be discriminated against because of their religion. That’s what he was doing in his speech and in his later comments. The media, including so-called lefty tabloids like the Huffington Post, have only one goal and that’s to pour gasoline on all fires and light their own fires if there are none to be found. They do not care about educating the American people, which is one reason they are so often clueless.
I agree, wilfred.
Expecting Obama to fix this country’s huge issues with race (monthly, since his election) and now religion is an impossible standard that no one person could ever meet, and we’re doing it because we’re too lazy and cowardly to grapple with these problems ourselves.
We set him up to fail.
“Here. Fix this.” It lets us off the hook, which is what we want.
He knew exactly what they were going to do. They do the same thing nearly weekly. If he’s of average intelligence, and I think he’s much smarter than that, he knew what was going to happen. The unreachable bar would be set, and he would (somehow) fail to meet it.
I think he had to address it, and he did. He always does the job in front of him. Always.
And, incidentally, where were the brave liberal elected heroes I’m always seeing on television?
The two people who defended the President’s position, Bloomberg and Crist, are political independents, and neither one is a liberal.
But … but .. but … TERROR BABIES!!!!!!!
The only way for Greenwald and Hamsher to get on TV is to bash Obama. They are not going to be on TV to debate serious people like George Will because the media prefers milquetoast liberals like Juan Williams or Clarence Page. But if the story is “Even libtard Jane Hamsher hates Obama,” then the path to the green room is open.
If Obama gets involved with building issues he will have to do the same everywhere. He spoke only to rights and he did the right thing…the only thing as an American
Firebaggers keep moving the goal posts so they are best ignored. I read TPM’s smack down of Politico but refused to link to the entire article. Do schools still teach reading comprehension?
Don’t get depressed m_c.
History unfolds on a different timescale.
I have seen several wars in my lifetime,
and they always last far longer,
and unfold far more slowly,
than you would believe possible.
That’s why you need to live your own life first.
History will play out its own inexorable course
whatever we do.
I’m actually quite impressed. Is it me? It seems very obvious. People forget Obama’s known for the 11-dimensional chess thing. Here’s what happened:
Obama makes the point that religious freedom and citizenship means Muslims are treated as Americans and have rights, including property rights, like normal human beings. This is said in a country where 70% are upset with Muslims over this, and probably 27% want to see them all in camps, no questions asked.
Obama follows this up with a statement of ‘no comment about whether this is a WISE plan’, and the country goes bonkers arguing about whether he endorsed the mosque, whether he’s walked back his endorsement of the mosque, whether it was his responsibilty to openly endorse the mosque, etc.
Okay, one: he has no business endorsing a church from the Oval Office, so if there WAS any walk-back (which there wasn’t) it was walk-back that SHOULD happen. We have SECULAR leadership. It’s important. And easily forgotten- how long since Bush said he wanted a ‘crusade’ and Boykin said “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol”?
Two: now it’s all about whether Obama is supposed to, or not supposed to, endorse a mosque. Lose/lose situation, no ‘right answer’ on that one to please everybody.
Meanwhile, the debate about whether Muslims really have rights as American citizens- never happens. It’s a given. It’s not interesting compared to whether Obama endorses the mosque… and the statements about how Muslims have freedom of religion, those go unquestioned because it’s a lot more interesting to make a fuss about whether Obama had a responsibility to PERSONALLY endorse the mosque.
You have to think like he does, a bit- that ‘super-rational’ thing of remembering other people can think too. So he’s added a ‘correction’, KNOWING it will be read as a sign of weakness, KNOWING that it will turn the discourse towards whether he should have issued the correction and what he personally should have done? Ask yourself, what’s he trading that for? What does he gain, from doing this thing he knows perfectly well is a ‘gaffe’ and will read as a flip-flop?
What he gains is: no faux debate over whether Muslim Americans still have rights. He made his larger point- now the focus INSTANTLY zooms down onto the smaller personal level of what he personally must do. It’s like throwing a ball for an excitable dog: the media which feeds America its thoughts will inevitably either have a big debate over ‘Do Muslims Really Have Rights?’ with ‘both sides’ endlessly presented- or turn National Enquirer and pick apart his tone of voice and argue about whether he is a ‘wuss’ or a ‘stud’ for how he said what he said.
Die cast. It’s gonna be the latter- and the fact Americans have rights is not up for debate and talking points.
I swear, this had to have occurred to him. Lawyers and politicians think about how something’s gonna play to the crowd. We’re just not used to somebody manipulating that for SOCIETAL gain. Because he’s not working it for self-aggrandizement, it confuses everybody, but it’s clear as day if you think about what Obama wants as an outcome. He’ll trade a personal ‘gaffe’ for a tactical gain on an important issue, any day.
I’m very pleased he’s my President, today. Hope he keeps it up. :)
I’m a bit surpised by this. As a non-Obamot the only thing I expected from him was to speak in his role as POTUS at an iftar – no more, no less; which he did.
Any other expectation would be projection – as LEADER, moral compass, passionate inspirer, etc. None of which are necessary, other than in the eye of the beholder.
Mountains out of molehills, as usual.
I think the best argument is the basic rights argument, and, happily, that’s also the argument that puts conservatives in the worst light.
No one can reasonably dispute what he said. He recited basic US principles and law. It makes it impossible to do what media does, which is frame everything as a “debate”. There’s really no substantive debate on this. That’s why conservatives and their media allies are focusing on “feelings”. He’s not going to engage Palin and Gingrich on their feelings, because that’s what they want. That’s the only route they have.
Are Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich opposed to religious liberty? Are they opposed to property rights? Do they reject these ideas? That’s the fight he wants to have.
Nothing wrong with changing the terms of the dispute, and that’s what he’s trying to do.
kommrade reproductive vigor
1. Find an issue about which many people are uncomfortable.
2. Issue an inflammatory statement about this issue.
3. Assume any positive feedback reflects the thoughts of everyone who is uncomfortable with the issue.
4. Issue increasingly inflammatory statements when your opponent doesn’t cave to your demands. (Since some people still agree with you, everyone must agree with you, right?)
5. Declare everyone who doesn’t agree with the latest streak of bile you just spewed all over the place isn’t a ReaLAMErican.
6. Continue until you realize that the only people who agree with you are the same 28%ers who always agree with you anyway.
Game Over. Do you want to play again?
[What jinxtigr said. Also2.]
@kay: True, he does know, but he seems to keep trying to communicate intelligently with them. I think that’s to his credit, actually.
It’s impossible for him to win the “feelings” argument. He’s not going to put himself in a position where he is telling people “your feelings are WRONG”. If he does that, he loses, because public opinion runs the other way. Not only is he not going to change their feelings, they’re going to resent a directive from the President that they shouldn’t be having them, because they run contrary to fact and law, and are probably based in fear and bigotry. Feelings aren’t about facts and law.
He’d be an idiot to engage on the terms set by media and Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.
His is the better argument. If it fails, it fails, but the other one was doomed.
You presume that leaders actually lead. There are a fair number who mislead. You can give credit where it is due, or you can make molehills out of mountains. It’s all a matter of expectation, as you mentioned.
Sometimes he gets past the filter. I saw his approval ratings on the Gulf spill have improved dramatically. Every once in a while, facts matter.
I don’t think it’s fair or reasonable to put our long and sorry history with religious and racial bigotry on one individual. We have some responsibility here. He can’t fix this for us.
One thing I’ve noticed that surprises me is how often liberals want Obama to make the moral argument. Conservatives frame everything as a morality play (it is WRONG to build there!) and liberals always end up demanding Obama make the moral liberal argument. I don’t know what that’s about, but it’s interesting. I wouldn’t have predicted that, how perfectly the two sides align in pursuing that angle. I would have thought liberals would be fact and law, and I did think that, until recently.
The author of your quote:
George Washington. And I didn’t even have to look it up. :-)
My 2 cents’ worth by the way:
Taking stands that may be politically unpopular but morally correct constitutes LEADERSHIP.
A lot of people have said they wanted leadership from Obama. They got it.
And I am very, very pleased.
To Obama: You go, dude. You make me very proud.
I think this is exactly what he should do. Point out the inequity of what has the potential of becoming institutionalized persecution. Certainly African-Americans and Jews have experienced this in the past, but hasn’t practically every other minority? Point out how this country was founded specifically as a refuge from that kind of persecution.
Obama should give a speech like the one he gave on racism during the campaign. Speak to the specific ideals he is upholding with his view on Cordoba — freedom of religion and not smearing an entire group for the bad actions of a few — and show how these ideals are the very same ideals of the Founding Fathers. Then let these clowns bring up the “his kind” of garbage. It will only expose them for who they really are and what they really represent.
But why can’t he lay out the rules and let people get there by themselves? Because he’s not really refuting Sarah Palin or her followers. They’re beyond convincing. That isn’t who he wants to reach. He wants to reach the 70% of people who are uncomfortable with this, and unwilling to look at why they are uncomfortable with this.
The moral argument is inherent in the First Amendment. It’s in there. He believes they’ll get there by themselves, if they get there at all. He’s showing their feelings a lot of deference, and that’s generally not a bad call.
Obama is a process person. I think the only thing he really believes is that if we follow the process, we’ll end up at the better result. He trusts process. “Follow the First Amendment, despite not wanting to, and see how you feel in six months”. I’m sympathetic to that, probably because that’s the only thing I really trust.
I will check out Momofuku.
Atrios is fine if you like your short, moderately embittered snark on a regular basis. However, if you want an extended argument, or even three paragraphs on a topic, prepare to be disappointed. For me, Atrios has his heart in the right place, but I wish he would lay out more of his thinking and arguments.
Oh, certainly. They do. It’s just that far too many of them would prefer to worry about a community center that is really none of their business. We have sunk very far indeed when defending the constitution (and thereby fulfilling one’s oath) can be seen as a risky political move.
I love Atrios. Probably my favorite blog.
I guess I think “here, look hard at your religious bigotry, America!” while emotionally satisfying, is a losing argument.
I think some deference is called for here.
He simply can’t tell them how to feel, so he relies on their own law and history, and suggests they take a look. He says “I’m a citizen and that’s where I looked”. A suggestion?
I actually think they’ll get there, the majority of people, but I’m a wild-eyed optimist.
@Nellcote: You make a good point. I had read the parts that were relevant to the mosque conversation, and then the clarification of those remarks, but it is always good to read everything in context.
One of the basic problems on the left is that a certain contingent has no problem with the Imperial Presidency as long as he or she is one of theirs. Obama shouldn’t have come out and demanded that the center be built because having the President approve and disapprove religious sites is way out of his job description and dangerous.
Yeah, and 50 years from now the Republicans (or whatever opposition party there is) will be asking the Muslims why they continue to vote for the Democrats, conveniently forgetting this entire episode. Same as the African-Americans today, the conservatives don’t remember the Freedom Democratic Party from Mississippi that opened up the Democratic Party to a more equal representation of the voters, not the establishment. We talk a lot about the Civil Rights Acts which were enacted by Democratic congress and signed by Democratic president, but I think the way the party responded to the Freedom Democratic Party by changing the rules on who gets to represent constituents at the conventions cemented the loyalty of the African-Americans.
@wilfred: yes. and as a fellow non-Obot i was likewise pleasantly surprised that Obama said something rather than nothing. so kudos to him for saying something even if that something should be self-evident.
@Bob Loblaw: yes. but it seems to me that psychologically people need a positive note from time to time, if only to affirm the irrational identification with an ideology. reality is too thin a gruel for most inhabitants of the US.
on an unrelated note, the foaming at the mouth here about the “professional left” is entertaining or sad, depending upon one’s projection/position. i find it rather amusing that anyone would call Huffington Post the professional left.
@DougJ: i’ve only started reading Atrios lately so maybe i am mistaken but it does seem that he makes pointed thoughtful observations in a self-deprecating manner. kinda like JC, with a different sensibility.
I’m gonna avoid making my blood pressure rise and not take a look at FluffPo.
One thing I haven’t seen mentioned (and perhaps I just missed it) is the fact that there is a world outside of US politics. Specifically, there are a lot of Muslims who are looking at how a huge chunk of our country is lumping an American Imam who has made specific arguments for the harmony of US Constitutional ideals and Islamic ideals in with Osama bin Laden. The President’s statement should be viewed also in that international context as well.
I’ve been reading Atrios for a long time and I like it because its predictions are generally accurate. I can’t say that about too many blogs.
Let’s also add Republicans will say things like: “Democrats wouldn’t win elections without muslims, hispanics, African Americans, gays & Jews”
Read: None of those groups are real Americans, and they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
I think the lesson from pretty much every political controversy, whether in the last year or last 50, is that those who are on the right side of history win out (politically) in the end. Not to mention being the right thing to do.
Democrats that weasel out – whether it be the mosque issue, birthright citizenship, or even simpler things like a right to healthcare, Social Security or taxing to pay for services – have only themselves to blame when they lose the elections b/c their nominal allies stay home instead of voting.
@ericblair: I concur. I know too many people who want Obama to act like Bush and, when he doesn’t, decide that he’s “worse than Bush”.
I consider myself an extremely skeptical, analytical, rational person; and I completely trust and support Obama in everything he does. Because I recognize for as smart and capable as I think I am, he’s better. That’s why he’s President of the USA right now, in fact.
I’m fairly confident I know what I’m talking about here, so I it just makes me sad as hell – yet also forcing myself to laugh – when you dingbat firebaggers/pumas come in here gnashing your breasts over how bad this Obama man is – just a “BAD PERSON!!!” as BobLoblaw points out.
If you can’t figure it out by now, you’re either a moran or a troll. I don’t know how else to put it. And no, I don’t care if you don’t have your pony yet. Really.
And this is why, of course, we’ll be enslaved to the 27% wingnuts for the foreseable future: Because a substantial percentage of the so called “left” is just as crazy, except from the complete opposite POV. And yet these folks just don’t seem to understand the whole “voting bloc” concept of politics. If you can’t have every singly thing precisely the way you want, then burn it all down as unpure.
My only hope at this point is the stupid as frick Repuglicans and Teabaggers shooting themselves in the collective feet come November. Because the so called “left” in this country is mostly a joke.
It’s ridiculously easy to be labeled a firebagger around here. All you have to do is express disappointment.
I’m not asking Obama to say that. I’m asking him to remind everyone exactly what it is this country stands for. To set aside the politics and the fear-mongering for a few moments and reflect upon just what America stands for. Quote these clowns some Ferlinghetti: “Straighten up and fly right.”
@kay: Yes, and the polling on health care reform has also improved. I think over the long run the facts do matter because people begin to see the results manifested in their own lives. And the point about people demanding the moral argument – liberal or conservative – is that morality is subjective. Seeing life from an absolutist moral perspective is setting a standard that cannot be reached. People who see life this way will never be satisfied since no one can possibly be pure enough, especially not a political leader, who has to deal with the real world (not simply a moral ideal) just to get anything done.
That’s completely absurd and an abdication of responsibility. It also has the nasty side effect of proving every single point of your first clause null and void.
My pony is to get him to stop lobbing cluster bombs into Yemeni farm communities (or any farm communities or any cities or anywhere). I of course await to hear my reckless irrationality on that one. Because CLEARLY no good man would ever stoop to firing a cruise missile blind into the night and murder sixty civilians in their beds, women and children all, on incomplete (or even in some cases, non-existent) intel. Right?
@DougJ: Atrios chooses to use the megaphone he has to say “Someone should do something,” and that’s when he’s doing actual content. You’re a fucking economist. Explain things to people. I swear, two-thirds of his posts are like this:
And then there’s a link to someone else’s post about something. That guy bothers me for how lazily he uses the resources he has.
Kay is right.
But religious bigotry is also the reason we are fighting an expensive, bloody, and unwinnable war on Islam.
i think this might give juicers a lot of insight into the current state of conservatism and the Park51 conservative reactions.
America’s God is Dying.
I would bet big money that 99% of soi disant ‘conservatives’ would selfdefine as nominally christian.
the GOP and the Tea Party are religious parties.
the christian right/GOP/Tea Party/conservatives are expressing their frustration with being unable to successfully proselytize islam. the Bush Doctrine and COIN are both unsuccessful attempts to proselytize western culture in MENA.
Christianity evolved to increase reps by proselytization and Islam evolved to be immune to christian proselytization.
So while muslims can build mosques in NYC, xians can’t build churches in Mecca and Medina.
There was freedom of religion under the Caliphate— jews and christians were citizens. There was just no freedom to proselytize.
the wholly christian right are understandably pissed that 6000 lives in blood and over a trillion in treasure have poured into an unwinnable war….because even when we stand up westernstyle democracy, muslims still vote for shariah like in Iraq.
But they aren’t willing to stop the war on Islam yet.
eventually we will have to stop this proselytization idiocy.
when all our teeth are broken and all our purses are empty we will go home, and they still wont be able to build churches in Mecca.
bi la kayfah (a sufi saying, meaning it is understood)
What’s the point? He isn’t listened to by anyone with authority. Why is the left constantly required to argue in “good faith” with those who have none?
I have no problem with him twisting the knife in deeper every chance he gets. Because, hey, all we have to do to get lower unemployment is just wait for the labor participation to drop some more. If nobody’s looking for work because there’s literally none to be found, then nobody’s technically unemployed anymore! The system works!
He did. Did you read Friday’s speech?
Fifty years from now, Muslims will be voting heavily Democratic because they’ll remember that Obama defended their rights when it was unpopular to do so.
Well sure, except for the whole Guantanamo Bagram Not-Leaving-Afghanistan Assassinating-US-Citizens Not-Investigating-War-Crimes Preventative-Detention Military-Commissions thing.
Apart from that, he’s golden in the Muslim world.
@Cliff: wallah, muslims in afghanistan and iraq are going to hate america for a thousand thousand years.
Look, muslims in leb won’t even take american taxpayer
heya America! all your
baseclient states are belong to al-Islam.
Are we still talking about Atrios? Does he “argue” anything with anybody? That’s my point. People read him, and he could be advocating for what he believes in. But he doesn’t do that. He has a Ph.D. in economics, and, still he posts no content and offers no analysis. He was a professor, and instead he acts like a 14-year-old boy slouching in his seat to text his friends through class, “omg so borrred wtf.”
Most of your list makes sense, but why should the Muslim world care about “Assassinating-US-Citizens”?
He shows his work in the beginning. But he’s not a perpetual process wonk. He doesn’t keep trotting out the same economic justifications week after week. He makes the argument, updates the corroborating data as it comes in and walks away.
The results speak for themselves. The data keeps fitting his narrative. And it’s not an accident. He’s been right time after time, and it doesn’t mean shit. He’s allowed to be a bitter swot sometimes, I think.
This seriously underestimates the power of bigotry in the American psyche.
I think he did that. He’s not going to walk them through it. I think that would be perceived as over-reaching, in the sense that you really can’t order people to start seeing something, no matter how artfully phrased. There’s simply no way to express that in this situation that won’t come off as an “I’m better than you” lecture. He’ll lose them.
All he did was repeat the principle he’s relying on as Prez, and, further, said “I, as a citizen, use this to guide my response” (in so many words). I wouldn’t go further, personally.
Let’s see if his way works. It’s gentler, but I think he has a good gut, and this feels like something he orchestrated himself (like the race speech) , rather than running it through his overly-defensive political team.
@Bob Loblaw: De gustibus and all that, but I think Atrios would be much more of a vital presence if he took an Nate Silver-like approach and used his blog to _teach_, as he used to do professionally. Ezra Klein made himself a wonk on various policy debates, and thus he helps to explain things. Atrios could easily be a wonk, but instead he has chosen to position himself as just a guy with opinions, occasionally aggregating other people’s opinions; and then he wraps it in an attitude like late NBC David Letterman, trotting out the same old bits while being obviously bored with it all.
I just think he hasn’t stood up well in the ecosystem and he’s coasting on old acclaim. And that’s frustrating because he has a lot more to offer than, say, Matt Yglesias, who doesn’t really know anything about anything.
You know what, just because some guy called GG says so doesn’t make it so!
Smart thinking Axel. I absolutely refuse to go there today. Going to HP is like staring at a car accident – I try not to look but sometimes my morbid curiosity takes over. However, for reasons of health (mental and otherwise), I will refrain.
Yes, I read it, and I agree with Kay’s characterization that it was gentle. And perhaps, before that audience, it needed to be. But I’d like to hear Obama address this atmosphere of demonization and threatened persecution that seems about to spin out of control.
I’d like Obama to call out the fear-mongers, not aggressively, but dispassionately; and I’d like him to point out where this country has taken a similarly wrong term in the past, like McCarthyism or Japanese internment, and how it has cost us as a nation. Remind people of the principles and, yes, the ideals that are America.
@FlipYrWhig: why should the Muslim world care about “Assassinating-US-Citizens”?
a lot of muslims care about this guy…..and this guy.
before you juicers go all PETA on me, the word on the street is that Imam Abdullah shot the dog in selfdense after the arresting agents sicced it on him.
It shouldn’t be, but it is
Saturday, September 11?