I just wanted to say once again how much I love this guy:
“I’m less concerned about style points, I’m much more concerned about getting the policy right,” Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “What I’ve said consistently throughout is that — the chemical weapons issue is a problem. I want that problem dealt with.” Obama — who initially called for punitive military action against against Syria before a workable diplomatic plan emerged last week — said that a bad policy could have a smooth rollout and vice versa.
“Folks here in Washington like to grade on style,” Obama said. “Had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy.”
“We know that, ’cause that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq War until it ended up blowing [up] in our face,” Obama said.
Reminds me of this:
I also loved his tacit admission that the strikes wouldn’t do anything to deal with the actual chemical weapons issue, points I repeatedly brought up, but let’s not rub all the hawks noses in it.
There is a reason I voted for this guy and this website popularized the terms firebagger and Obot. It’s because Obama is smarter than your average commenter and himself knew strikes would do nothing. And that is why I love him.
*** UPDATE ***
Again, I have no idea how I am trolling you all. I was vehemently against us getting involved in more air strikes that would accomplish (in my estimation) nothing. I stated this repeatedly. And Obama agrees:
Let’s see if they’re serious. But we have to make sure that we can verify it and enforce it, and if in fact we’re able to achieve that kind of agreement that has Russia’s agreement and the Security Council’s agreement, then my central concern in this whole episode is resolved. It doesn’t resolve the underlying terrible conflict in Syria.
And, you know, that I’ve always said is not amenable to a military solution. We’re gonna have to get the parties to arrive at some sort of settlement. But this may be a first step in what potentially could be an end to terrible bloodshed, and millions of refugees throughout the region — that is of deep concern to us and our allies.***
But what I’m gonna try to propose is, is that we have a very specific objective, a very narrow military option, and one that will not lead into some large-scale invasion of Syria or involvement or boots on the ground, nothing like that. This isn’t like Iraq, it’s not like Afghanistan, it’s not even like Libya. Then hopefully people will recognize why I think this is so important.
And that we should all be haunted by those images of those children that were killed. But more importantly, we should understand that when when we start saying it’s okay to — or at least that there’s no response to the gassing of children, that’s the kind of slippery slope that leads eventually to these chemical weapons being used more broadly around the world. That’s not the kind of world that we want to leave to our children.
If that isn’t a tacit admission that bombing strikes will change nothing on the ground and would be nothing but dick-waving because “WE HAD TO REACT,” then I don’t know what is. Instead, the smart guy out there worked to put Putin and his client state in a bind, and create a situation where the chemical weapons might actually destroyed rather than the spray and pray tomahawk strikes so many of you witless and feckless liberal hawks were all het up about. It’s almost like many of you douchebag internet warriors are too young to remember the big SCUDmobile weapons chase in the the first gulf experiment. At any rate, hopefully Syria is easier to control for Putin than Israel is for the US.
And instead of fearmongering, he does this:
But on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Obama snapped back that Syria is no threat to the United States.
“Mr. Assad doesn’t have a lot of capability,” Obama said. “He has capability relative to children. He has capability relative to an opposition that is still getting itself organized and are not professional, trained fighters. He doesn’t have a credible means to threaten the United States.”
Compare that to the Bush years of mushroom cloud hysteria.
I reserve my right to scream against bombing that will accomplish nothing. I’m not trolling my website when I support the guy I have supported for 6 years when I agree with him, and bitch about him when I think he is wrong. I don’t have to just sit here and rely on faith in the man. I get to choose if I think he is right. That is how thinking goes. I was against the fierce three week bombing push, and I support what he is doing now and want to once again state how much I love the guy. That’s not trolling. That’s just basing my decisions on people’s behavior. Although I guess I could still be a mindless idiot Republican trying to name every god damned thing after Reagan.
I love him too. It may take 50 or 100 years, but I guarantee he will go down as one of the four or five greatest presidents in this country’s history. I’m talking Mount Rushmore levels of greatness. I’m just sorry I won’t be around to see it and enjoy the vindication.
And here we go…
Forgot to close one your blockquote tags, John.
Also Thomas Friedman is working on getting it:
He’s actually trying. More than you can say for Richard Cohen or Ruth Marcus who appear to hate Obama for helping get rid of chemical weapons. Because chemical weapons are bad and should be gotten rid of, so Obama suxxor.
[‘Good God almighty.’]
I’d love him even more if he’d change ‘folks’ to ‘Mark Halperin and his idiot friends’
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader?
He’s dreamy. I’m surprised he didn’t spend more time talking about all the eleven dimensional chess moves that went into making a hash of the whole Syria mess. But, as he so aptly pointed out, he isn’t the worst president in the world. That low bar was set by the last president.
I’ll say it again..
the moment the President said.
he fucked ALLLLL their shyt up.
The MSM has been mad ever since.
Damn him for ruining their ‘war coverage’ plans.
Damn him for ruining their ‘ Syria is Iraq II’ banners that they had written.
Damn him for ruining their ‘ there must be something to it’, as they shrugged from the sidelines when the GOP attempted to impeach the President over this.
President Barack Obama just threw all their plans in the garbage and they’ve been mad ever since.
Add in his ‘ I won’t negotiate with terrorists….economic or otherwise’… comment from this week….
I’ve been saying for awhile that the GOP has been committing ECONOMIC TREASON against this country since January 20, 2009
the GOP just doesn’t realize it..
November 6, 2012, 11:05 p.m.
was the moment the Obama Give-A-Fuck O’Meter went to -20.
He’s not concerned about style points…but, but, he had style when we elected him! He sold us out!!!1!01!
Also, when is the electorate going to give this guy the House and Senate he deserves, so he can really get some stuff done? I give us a .5 out of 3 (.5 for 111th Congress – would have been a .6 if Kennedy hadn’t croaked). One more chance…
11-dimensional bombs, y’all.
Maybe, possibly, hopefully, the forthcoming round of Republicans shuttin’ down the gummint and shit, can redirect attention from Syria. (Who did, in fact, gas their peoples regardless of what the fucking Ruskies say.)
Speaking of eleventy-dimensional chess, I thought it was an old chess maxim that you never do what your opponent wants you to do… which is why, according to the drumbeats:
Talk about giving your opponent a gift. Somehow, I don’t think this would play out as intended.
You also brought up that this was just gonna be like Iraq, but I’m sure you’ll conveniently forget that bit of jackassery.
Actually, if one would read what the majority of commenters were saying, one would find that they thought that the use of chemical weapons was a serious thing that required consequences but were not in favor of strikes because they wouldn’t do much good.
“It’s because Obama is smarter than your average commenter and himself knew strikes would do nothing”.
Think it through. Obama reserves the right under law to unleash weapons of war on Syria, because, in lieu of a diplomatic solution, he believes military strikes would definitely serve to accomplish something.
Just what he thinks that “something” is, who the hell knows?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
On the road today I was behind a car with a “Support Our Troops” sticker, made me think of Andrea Mitchell concernedly wondering, when Obama decided to go Congress, what the effect it would have “on the troops”, the tone of her question clearly indicating this would be bad for them. And the VSP she was talking to was unfazed by the absurdity of it all, to say the least.
Bob's Had Enough
In scholarly works, yes.
In popular myth, I doubt it. He isn’t likely going to have the glamor of winning a big war and saving the country. And he doesn’t do the “bigger than life” stuff while out on the stage.
I think people who actually think are going to recognize PBO as one of our greats.
Oh, and this post proves one can actually troll his own web site.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
He’s a mensch. I’m grateful. And I agree he will be judged by history among the best ever elected, just not real soon, sadly.
I’m having a bit of an identity crisis since learning (late) in an earlier thread that it’s unfeminine to like Frank and DFW. I adore both, while Mr. Q doesn’t care much for the author. We went to see my favorite* guitar player’s band and Mr. Q said “Holy fuck, he looks more like Frank than Dweezil does.” That was totally true on that day.
*Electric. It will be a long time before anyone tops David Rawlings in my musical heart acoustically.
We are headed for government shutdown. Boehner apparently couldn’t do a thing. This is going to suck big time for those who depend on government. Let’s see how long Ted Cruz will last before he bends knee. Asshole.
Bob's Had Enough
Significantly punish that asshole so that he doesn’t use chemical weapons again? Might that be a “something”?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Bob’s Had Enough: I’ll be curious to see the reaction to Obama in 2020 or so, assuming I’m still shuffling around this mortal coil, compared to all the Clinton worship after two plurality wins and impeached-but-not-convicted.
oh ferfuxsake Cole. If you want a 300 comment flame war why not just post “I want a 300 comment flame war”? Isn’t it painfully obvious at this point that you say jump, and the collective response is, how high?
Mike in NC
Yeah, but what does Jennifer Effing Rubin think?
I’m having trouble seeing where Obama admits at all that the attacks wouldn’t deal with the chemical weapons issue. Here’s his view on force and diplomacy from the interview:
As for this:
I’m pretty sure only one half of the Obama-Putin duo thinks this.
You know, “Smarter than the Average Commenter” would have made a great slogan and made it harder when the inevitable left wing letdown occured for his “real” progressive critics to claim they were misled.
I am sure they would have found another reason to blame Obama for not voiting in 2010, however.
I love him too! Go Barry!
He’ll see us through this insanity. Keep the faith, and get his back.
@eemom: Good point. I guess I should just this one fester on its own.
Ted & Hellen
Naturally, he failed to mention that he essentially pardoned all the war criminals associated with the catastrophe, and even helped one of them dedicate a grandiose, vulgar monstrosity of a monument to his great achievements while in office, cause that’s what the Plutocrats do for each other.
Also, too: So OVER Americans having to “love” their political heroes as if they’re Justin or Taylor. Christ, grow up already.
PBO has demonstrated that your affections are unrequited: He cares far more for Babs Bush and her beloved son all gathered so tenderly to Barack’s side at the dedication and hornswaggle.
Right on, John. He’s the best POTUS of my lifetime, in terms of being sane.
Ruth Marcus, Jill Lawrence and the other beltway morons make me sick. They act like they know what they’re talking about when these fools have been wrong some many times that I’ve lost count. The only thing they’re good at is kissing the GOP’s A**.
@Cain: The GOP is really stupid if they think shutting down the government to defund a law that was passed 3.5 years ago is a smart strategy. Way to gift us a political win without even having to do the heavy lifting.
If Obama is playing 11D chess, the GOP is melting the plastic pieces and eating the remains warm.
Bob's Had Enough
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well, there’s a chance we on the left will let the right define Obama for near history. Like they’ve vilified Carter and created Saint Ronnie.
Clinton has done a good job of running his own post-presidency PR campaign. Not saying that in a bad way, he’s doing good stuff. But he’s also good at getting good press. I don’t see that coming from Obama.
I suspect the Obamas will be very active post White House, but I don’t see them seeking the limelight in the same way Bill seems to do. They simply doesn’t seem to enjoy attention all that much.
Davis X. Machina
No mention of the public option in that interview, was there?
Won’t catch me voting for him again.
Well, the good news is, none of the usual suspects are rising to the bait EXACTLY as might have been predicted.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Me too. I think once he leaves office people will appreciate the things he did/ achieved and the risks he took that could have ended his presidency. The ACA and laying the foundation for National health care will be his biggest. Like Social Security and Medicare it will evolve into a much larger and improved program.
@eemom: Doesn’t commenting on commentary add to the mess?*
*I acknowledge that commenting about commenting on the commenting gets me down in the mud as well.
@Ted & Hellen:
Yeah, coming from you, feeling the need to comment yet again. I realize your idea of “loving” is stuck at the “I’ll get cooties” stage, but you can use the term in an adult fashion. You might try it sometime, maybe with Helen at first.
Ted & Hellen
The obots are doing so.
Obama has made several calls that I hate, as others up-thread have pointed out, like letting the war criminals off the hook and not pushing a public HC option, has COMPLETELY screwed the pooch when it comes to civil liberties, and etc etc.
I’m not electing nor voting for a hero, or someone (more comically, though several of you seem to wish it so) who agrees with me on every policy decision that comes down the pike. Hell, I don’t WANT a POTUS who agrees with me on every policy decision…that would be creepy.
But the man has to make some tough calls, as all Presidents do, and I trust him to do the best he can with his considerable emotional IQ and goddamn rationality maxed out.
I would’ve gone all in on the Bullworthesque FU’s(!) long ago, and I think this is true of most people.
The Beltway have always hated President Obama(and Michelle, but they wouldn’t dare go after her) with the heat of a thousand suns. Once he won reelection, they just stopped hiding it.
Yeah, but I thought “meta” was something cool now.
Bob's Had Enough
@eemom: I wish one of your oh, so, superior people would run for office in 2016.
Then fix all the world’s problems and punish all the world’s guilty on the way to the White House following your inauguration.
All we seem to be able to do so far is elect mortals. Our people make mistakes now and then. They have to compromise, even overlook problems. They just don’t seem to be able to tackle problems according to each of our individual to-do lists.
They’re such disappointments and you could do so very much better….
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@eemom: bah, he doesn’t even count. I want the real Naderites, and even moreso the PUMAs coming in here to tell us what a real fighter! would have done
@Bob’s Had Enough: I think the Obama post-presidency will be very interesting, no more elections, no Bubba-esque need to win over past critics; in fact if they show the contempt for the Beltway types I think the very sincerely feel, I’ll buy all their books and contribute to the library and shit
@Bob’s Had Enough: Punish who exactly? Assad? It’s not cricket to target leaders, you know that. It’s just not done.
So tell me, who will be punished? And to what end?
And then define ‘punish’ while you’re at it, Patton.
This. Everything you said.
@Bob’s Had Enough: True ! But the difference between Carter and Obama is that Obama has a list of long historical accomplishments which will have a large impact on our way of life for a long time. Carter was a good president but what Obama has accomplished domestically so far is greater than what Carter and Clinton accomplished. Also, Carter was a one term President and Obama is the first since Eisenhower to win 51 % + twice. And most likely based on unemployment trends Obama will leave the country in a better place economically
@eemom: Only if it is ironic.
Davis X. Machina
@Jeremy: I just hope he leaves the White House in one piece. The track record for ex-Illinois-state-house hacks with funny ears, elected and promoted to the Presidency after only a single term in Congress, isn’t good.
I’m gonna cry when he leaves office.
@Bob’s Had Enough: I maybe should have specified historians-scholars. But I’m not sure I agree with you about popular views of him. I think general attitudes are changing — obviously, not nearly fast enough — and in a century or so, I think (hopebelievepray) a much higher percentage of the populace will embrace him. But I am 71years old and I have no expectation of seeing that day.
Ya know, Long Tooth, reposting the same thing 11 times doesn’t make it better.
omg, even FYWP chimes in when Cole says “Jump.”
Why has Planned Parenthood not changed their name to Ronald Reagan 2nd Amendment Ladyparts Snipers. No way the GOP would try and defund them.
@eemom: Cole’s just mad because ESPN2 showed a program on the 2011 Super Bowl – the one where Green Bay beat Pittsburgh. Yeah, I watched it.
@John O: He did push for the public option but they had to drop it because a block of conservative democrats in the Senate threatened to filibuster the bill. They needed every democratic vote in order to pass a bill. The President had a choice: No health care reform for 20 more years or a Health care bill that will be the foundation for change.
Thank god the President isn’t a purists or nothing would have been done. If FDR was a purist we wouldn’t have Social Security since many people didn’t qualify and the benefits were meager.
Technical difficulties, or did you feel really, really strong about that one, Long Tooth?
:-) It’s happened to me, too. (Just never that many times.)
“Long Overdue”? That made me think the time you’d explicitly admit you vastly overreacted to the saber-rattling had finally arrived.
That was kind of my point. I know what he had to do to move the proverbial ball down the ol’ playing field.
Sorry I didn’t get that across well. Perhaps I should’ve said his effort to get a PO was fucking feeble and lame.
@Bob’s Had Enough:
The man’s reminded me a lot of Truman, actually. Presided against a hostile, radical Congress hell-bent on overturning every progressive reform of the last fifty years, and had to simultaneously 1) hold the line against their efforts in that regard, 2) improve the not-great economy he was presiding over, and 3) try to continue advancing progressive goals where he could.
And since Truman is pretty much my favorite president, that’s meant very sympathetically.
I wouldn’t sell the myth of Obama too short, though. The man is still incredibly popular, among far more people than the MSM or GOP like to admit.
@Omnes Omnibus: This just got meta didn’t it?
My baby haz’d a sad because the Packers beat the Redskins, yesterday or something.
@eemom: I would say that I am sorry but I would be lying.
@Yatsuno: Can I talk about Foucault now?
You mean everyone outside the bubble, or those who don’t watch Fox/listen to Rush?
BHO is the best we can HOPE for in insane depressing times. He will not be favored in history, he is not a man of the people, he just played us.
That being said, he works for Goldman-Sucks. He and his Goldman-Sucks approved treasury employees looted the vast recovery funds, giving precious little to main street and ALL of the millions who have lost their homes, Thanks Barry.
HOPE the Nobel Peace Prize does not get too heavy when you carry it up to your Goldman provided retirement penthouse.
@Omnes Omnibus: Indeed. If John had bothered to actually read the comments, he might have understood that the vast majority both admitted that there was a chemical weapons strike – now confirmed by the released UN Report – and that bombing was not the preferred method of dealing with it; although it had to be dealt with. Most of us advocated for negotiations and diplomacy for dealing with what was obviously a chemical weapons attack – while John couldn’t bring himself to admit that there was a chemical weapons attack at all. And he still hasn’t – despite the UN report being released yesterday.
So, yes, he was trolling his own blog and he’s sort of still doing it. But, I like Obama too, and am glad that he chose the diplomacy route rather than mindless bombing.
@Omnes Omnibus: Carefully. Maybe.
Of course I’m sick as a dog and STILL stupidly taught class today, so I don’t suggest relying on my brain power much.
Ooh, just read the update. Someone has a selective memory and too much scotch. I’m guessing they’re related.
Bob's Had Enough
@Long Tooth: Obama stated, IIRC, that Assad would not be personally targeted. The targets would be some of his ability to fight. Take away some of his weapons and communication ability making it harder for him to hang on to power.
Is that enough definition for you?
@John O: Oh that’s my fault. But I understand where you’re coming from.
@different-church-lady: The whole point of saber rattling is to vastly overreact. If everyone doesn’t believe that Obama is serious about pushing the red button, then the gambit doesn’t work – Syria would call his bluff. That didn’t happen, though – at least as far as things look now.
Though I think Obama is serious about doing it if Syria doesn’t step down. I don’t think it’s a bluff. I also don’t think Obama is determined at all cost to buy some more tomahawks. That was Bush’s deal.
Timmy took the precaution of getting his buddy Cole to ban our IP addresses before he posted.
Oh for fuck’s sake.
The bolded bit isn’t what you were saying at the time. It is much fucking closer to what a shitload of commenters were saying. Although since this thread has already gone po-mo, I guess it doesn’t really matter.
ETA: The bolded bit is really close to what commenters were saying once reports of the negotiations started to surface. But po-mo.
Sorry, but he didn’t score a touchdown on every play, so he’s worse than Bush.
That he left to SoS Kerry.
Fortunately this WWIII nonsense is in the rear-view mirror for now because we’ve got a massively entertaining government shutdown on the horizon.
@Omnes Omnibus: Of course it matters – John isn’t going to get away with changing his tune and re-characterizing what he actually wrote in real time. He STILL hasn’t even admitted that there was a chemical weapons strike on 8/21 although at least he now admits that Syria possesses chemical weapons (having admitted so and now ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention).
But John opposed the bombing in his own fact-denying way, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
As for your update, I read it exactly the opposite. He’s proposing a limited strike specifically to damage Syria’s existing chemical weapons and production and, more importantly, change the way Syria acts about chemical weapons, which is his entire objective. His comments about it being narrow are to point out that he’s not wanting to get any more involved in the civil war than limiting CW. Yes, he does not think the attack will do a whole lot about the civil war, but that was never his goal.
As for people saying your trolling, would they please give it up. T&H trolls, Corner Stone throws poop, and JSF will cut you at the back of your knees. Bringing up a relevant topic is not trolling, even if you know it won’t be a popular position. It’s far better than site owners that have been cowed by their readers.
So far, I think mistermix and Soonergrunt have been the only front-pagers to admit they misunderestimated Obama and he wasn’t really on a single-minded, Bush-like rush to war using CW as a flimsy excuse. Otherwise, I’m hearing the same thing I remember hearing from Iraq War supporters after everything went tits-up, just as predicted: Well, okay, maybe you guys were right, but you were right for the wrong reasons, so MY analysis is still correct!
Somebody needs to cleanse our nation of this kind of shit:
I suppose I’m an Obot for saying this, but I felt, all along, that the President was going for this exact outcome, and I’m very pleased he got it.
Now that it couldn’t have gone another way, or that he might have had to make a decision he didn’t want to go that way. Just that he does think ahead, and keeps his cool like few I’ve ever seen.
I’ll never forget seeing him yukking it up at the dinner, while the whole time, we now know, he was waiting for the outcome of the Osama bin Laden raid.
I’d have made a pretzel look like a starched sheet.
@Felonius Monk: I hope he enjoys his nice, scary, intense visit from the Secret Service.
I disagree that he was going for exactly this result, but I think it was one one a number possible results that the admin would have been willing to accept. I also think that bomb was also one of those results – lower down the preference list, but really on the table.
@Felonius Monk: Sorry, the left is not known for random acts of gunfire. We’ll basically have to wait until he dies.
That he left to SoS Kerry.
Sorry, when did the bombing start in Syria. I seem to have missed that. Because otherwise, it’s not comparable at all since the rush to war by Kerry didn’t actually, y’know, end with a war, contrary to 2003.
Fucking South Park.
I realize now Cole doesn’t know what the word “trolling” means. This also explains his dear friend Tim.
@Heliopause: The credible threat part of a credible threat requires a credible threat.
As I said when the news first came out, this was actually BETTER than my best-case scenario. I was convinced that someone was going to end up dropping bombs on Syria and I didn’t want it to be the US acting unilaterally.
To have it resolved diplomatically exceeded by expectations by, like, a million. I feel like Bertie Wooster when he realizes Jeeves was working behind the scenes on his behalf the whole time.
Bob's Had Enough
@? Martin: I’ve seen no signs that Obama bluffs.
I think he arrived at the decision that he would do something about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. One obvious thing to do would be to deliver a world of hurt on Assad so Obama moved the Navy into position.
Did he work our out a number of approaches including getting Assad to turn over his stockpile of chemicals? I cannot believe that he didn’t. The administration and Pentagon are well staffed with people who game out all sorts of plans, then tear them apart looking for flaws, then rebuild them.
I’ve no doubt that there were many discussions on how to get China and Russia, even Iran, on board or at least willing to stand aside.
Let’s say that the best solution was what we seem to have, let the UN burn those weapons down. How would we get Assad to go along with that?
By offering him a severe thrashing if he didn’t cooperate. And, either by luck or design, we got the Russians to join in which signaled to Assad that he had no outside support.
Now, a president can’t threaten a military strike, back off, and say “Just kidding”. I’ve no doubt that had Assad not given in Obama would have given the order.
Remember, he’s someone who prefers peace. But he’s not someone who avoids using force when he thinks it will lead to peace. He did order the surge (which seems to have worked). He did order the hit on Osama. And he’s whacked al Queda to the point where we’re feeling a bit more secure these days.
@Bob’s Had Enough: More or less, this.
I’m with you.
Really, the guy took a fairly big war crime seriously enough to react, but was willing to accept nonviolent solutions – the use of force was “on the table,” but not the only thing on the table, and diplomacy wasn’t a flimsy excuse or introductory paragraph for the war itself, it was an actual tool of statecraft. This is how Iraq could have been handled if Bush had called it quits after forcing Saddam to allow the inspection regime back in, and what would have happened if we’d had a fucking adult in the White House during that time.
We now have an adult again. I am satisfied. That is all.
@Bob’s Had Enough:
All of this. If he manages to repair our relations with Iran at the same time after Bush threw their diplomatic overtures back in their faces, then I’m triply happy.
These good foreign policy results make us look weak! Inpeach!
@Belafon: You are correct. We can only hope that we don’t have to wait too long.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): @Omnes Omnibus:
The hypothetical Martian observer would find these responses mystifying. Alas, a mere earthling such as myself finds them clownishly predictable. Keep trolling, John.
And don’t you two think you can derail my enjoyment of the government shutdown/debt limit fight.
@Bob’s Had Enough:
It doesn’t matter whether Obama seeks the limelight or not, he will always be in the limelight. It doesn’t matter what the talking heads in the MSM think of him, photographers will be chasing him for a good long time and he’ll always draw a crowd. That’s been his lot in life since 2004. The wing nut haters have been at this for 5 years now and the American public still likes the guy. I don’t see them changing their minds after he leaves office.
I don’t know, if I put on my tin-foil hat, it seems to me that the timing of him deciding to go to Congress, the “gaff” by Kerry, and quick acceptance of said “gaff” by Russia and Syria…all seem a little too convenient for me.
I think that this whole plan was being discussed by the U.S. and Russia for quite a awhile, and once they decided that they had an agreement, they had to perform a bit of misdirection to not allow their respective “enemies” to think that the Americans and Russians were negotiating directly to resolve the conflict.
It all could all have happened as haphazardly as it was presented publicly, but I just have a hard time thinking that any international situation on this scale, is ever what it is presented as publicly.
@Heliopause: So you think that Kerry was all for out for a war and only the fact that he is gaffish and someone called him on it stopped the bombing?
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): “So far, I think mistermix and Soonergrunt have been the only front-pagers to admit they misunderestimated Obama and he wasn’t really on a single-minded, Bush-like rush to war using CW as a flimsy excuse.”
Small nit. I never thought he was on a Bushian rush to war using CW as a flimsy excuse. I believed then, and I believe now, that he was doing what he honestly believed to be the right thing, and that he had no intention of a full-blown war.
I just didn’t think he was right about it being the right thing. I am gratified that he was smart enough to take the road less traveled.
@RareSanity: I alway think that if one doesn’t approach diplomacy like it is a Wonkavator, one is doing it wrong.
Bob's Had Enough
@Omnes Omnibus: I think it interesting that so many people who must know Obama’s and Kerry’s prior opposition to war would assume that either was just itching to start a war.
I can understand that some people hate/dislike Obama for a variety of reasons and that they might use the opportunity to attack him. One expects that from the right. But some people that have gone after him over this issue I see as neither righties or PUMAs. It’s almost like this site got caught up in a mob action. (I’m normally a major lurker and read a lot of the comments.)
“You all”? C’mon Cole, any random fool knows it’s y’all.
Way to convince us you’re not trolling.
@boss bitch: Same here. Even if the Dems keep the presidency, I’ll really miss the guy – the whole family, too.
Also the little bit about the chemical weapons attack in Syria being something that had already happened and can be verified with actual facts, while the WMDs in Iraq were a possibility based on faked evidence. Other than that, though, they’re absolutely identical.
James E. Powell
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
in fact if they show the contempt for the Beltway types I think the very sincerely feel, I’ll buy all their books and contribute to the library and shit
The book I will big bucks for? The one in which Michelle Obama tells us what she really thinks.
@Bob’s Had Enough: Interventionism tends to create some interesting divergences from normal play. I tend to be fairly liberal interventionist in general philosophy, but I was against idea of air strikes in Syria. As a result, I am thrilled with the way things are going.
Obama thought then, and still thinks, that bombing would accomplish one thing: doing something to Assad that he very much wouldn’t like. Compared to there being no substantial response to the attack, he thought and still thinks that this is an important thing to accomplish. But it’s not nearly as good a thing to accomplish as CW disarmament, which Assad also won’t like, but which also has constructive results. But if it’s looking like that’s not actually going to happen, Obama is reserving the right to strike Assad in a way that degrades his military capacity because he wouldn’t like it (and that’s what a deterrent action is) because [see above].
Basically, Obama doesn’t agree with you on strikes and he never did. He can just recognize a better option when it comes along like all the rest of us can.
@Bob’s Had Enough:
Groupthink — here? Surely you jest.
Bob's Had Enough
@Omnes Omnibus: I’m also opposed to bombing.
But I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I thought best. For me, it came down to whether we sit by and do nothing when chemical weapons are used or do we do something, even if means dropping some bombs.
I arrived at the belief that it was better to drop some bombs than to risk letting chemical weapons return to common use.
I started looking at it like when the ACLU defends some rotten, nasty organization’s free speech rights. Sometimes doing a very repulsive thing is better than doing nothing.
@eemom: No, there was the usual bluster, the FP troll from Cole, and, underneath that, a number serious discussions of pending current events. To see the serious discussion, one did have to peer through a metric shit ton of sturm und drang.
@Bob’s Had Enough: I have absolutely no problem with the ACLU defending anyone, but I take your point.
A couple of things: I believe there is a new species of Liberal hawk out there, and it’s different from the Beinart/Ken Pollack crew in that it opposed the Iraq War from the start. Call it the Samantha Power school. Put simply, they look at what they view as humanitarian crises and insist force should be an option, but they don’t think the best show of force is the use of ginormous numbers of ground troops (In fact, this is one of the reasons Power opposed the Iraq War: too many troops for too long a time; President Obama, too, opposed that war because he thought we’d be in Iraq indefinitely). So, there are a small number of Spec. Forces people helping chase Kony, no massive ground troop build-up in Libya, and none in Yemen, yet all three examples show real hawkishness, and they’re nowhere near as sloppy as what Bush II ran.
I understand this puts me in the minority, but I supported military action against Syria because I very much believe this President cares deeply about the use of WMD and the problem of them going missing all over the world. His record (New START, new Nunn/Lugar) and rhetoric show that, but I don’t think he’s being “weak” by aiming for a diplomatic solution here. He’s playing chess. If the deal fails, I have a hard time believing POTUS won’t be able to return to Congress and get a use of force authorization by a safe margin. I don’t “want” the deal to fail, but it looks difficult enough that failure cannot be ruled out.
Finally, the “Assad didn’t use CW because Iraq” argument really pisses me off. It suggests that President Obama has no agency, causing him to be totally played by the intelligence community. How many times do we have to hear the “helpless black guy” bullshit? I don’t think American Presidents have total control over the intelligence community, and hell, everything about that slimeball Petraeus suggests he would’ve been rotten enough to find a way to spy on this President while he – St. Dave – was head of the CIA, but something like the successful bin Laden raid tells me that, if Bush had a 15% grasp of the intel community, President Obama’s must be around 55%. That’s a real leap, but O’s a smart guy, so I’m willing to give him (and yes, those on his team who concluded, along with him, that Assad used CW) some slack.
I hate when I come into a thread like this all late and shit, but dammit, Cole, you are a bipolar muthafucka. Last couple of weeks, you were complaining about Obama swinging his dick all over the Nobel prize or some shit, now you love the man again.
Make. Up. Your. Mind.
I don’t know why some of you think Cole is trolling. He was opposed to bombing on principle, and he’s happy that POTUS took the diplomatic route. Why is that trolling?
@Jay: I’ll potentially buy into your theory if you drop the hawk term and, more importantly, put secure broad international support into the mix.
@Anya: Cole wasn’t trolling here. He has in previous posts on the subject.
Cole was way off base here, but that ain’t trolling.
Lighten up Cole, you take these accusations of trolling your own blog to seriously, especially since Doug actually does troll the blog.
And it’s a total misreading of what actually happened with Iraq. Iraq wasn’t an intelligence failure in the sense of the intelligence community giving Bush flawed data. It was a case of Bush wanting war and assigning a team to mine the intelligence data for anything that would provide him with an excuse, including stuff that the serious intel people thought was crap. To make the comparison valid, you’d have to assume that Obama was as hot for a war in Syria as Bush was for one in Iraq, which leaves you trying to explain why Obama let the Syrian Civil War grind on for a couple of years before manufacturing his evidence to justify joining in. It was never a sensible reading of the situation, and IMO says a lot more about people’s guilty feelings about being fooled on Iraq than it does about the actual facts on the ground.
Since the author denies trolling, is it too early to ask if HRC is smarter than the average commenter?
@Anya: @Omnes Omnibus:
Clearly, what we need here is a workable definition of “trolling.”
To start us off, I’ll just note that Cole goes apeshit whenever he is accused of such. Because, you know, all of his posts on hot-button topics are so obviously the product of careful study of the merits of the issue without regard to the reaction they might elicit.
John, it’s only because of emoprogs like you that Obama’s courtesy bombing threat was taken seriously by Assad and Putin.
As you know, the Obamahadis were far too obvious in their keen foresight here that this was all only an elaborate 11D move to troll Putin. They nearly gave the game away and spoiled the entire thing.
Keep up the good work, one day they will realize how in the right you always are.
@eemom: The man has a grasp of nuance that would sadden a light switch.
@srv: Try not to be a dipshit.
….or, whether or not the commenters on this blog have or haven’t supported whatever dumbass strawman memes he chooses to knock down in those posts.
The prophet Nostradumbass
If you want to see someone trolling his own website, go look at the two Erik Loomis posts about ketchup on Lawyers, Guns and Money.
I had to read a book this week for class about British and French intelligence in their Middle Eastern colonies that reminded me of that. Apparently, the Kurdish revolt in the early 1920s caught the British authorities in Baghdad completely off guard, because for months they’d been ignoring reports from their informants on the ground when they didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, and actually firing them if they insisted.
Couple months earlier, had a former Russia analyst from the federal government come into class to discuss career opportunities. Somehow the subject of the fall of the Eastern Bloc came up, and her version of it was that it was total bullshit that nobody saw it coming – plenty of people in her section were apparently screaming about it to their higher-ups, but they decided to ignore it because it didn’t fit the script.
Just once, I’d like to read about an “intelligence failure” that consisted of failing to gather intelligence, rather than gathering accurate intelligence and then having the politicians say “naaah, I think I’ll just consult a fortune teller instead.”
And it still could go toes-up in a big way.
We’ve been working on destroying our own chemical weapons stockpile for 20 years, having spent billions of dollar building facilities and equipment, and by most accounts we’re still 10 years away from being done. That’s with knowing where all of our stuff was at the outset, and doing it in Colorado and Kentucky.
In Syria, whoever gets tasked with disposing of the regime’s CW stockpile (and it’s overwhelmingly likely to be us, since we and the Russians are pretty much the only people with the resources and know-how, and we are incented more strongly than they are) is walking into an environment where every LZ is hot, every road is potentially mined, and every doorway could have a hostile in it. We’re going to have to find the stuff, transport it safely out of theater, and either bring it to Kentucky or build a new facility somewhere else.
The bills for this escapade are going to be monumental, and we will almost certainly take casualties in the process.
It’s still the right thing to do, and I’m still glad we are where we are as opposed to several other places we could be, but let’s go into this with our eyes open.
@AxelFoley: THE exact words I was looking for, but never in a million years would have found.
@Bob’s Had Enough: If you think the douchebags here are bad, get a load of the commentariat over at Eschaton.
Even at that, there’s still a rather large stockpile in Umatilla, Oregon. Nearby towns have evacuation plans in case of leaks, and the terror is it drifting up the Columbia into Portland.
Bob's Had Enough
@Mike E: I have a very high opinion of some of the people on this site. I use it as a way to get a better understanding of what I see in the news.
(That is not to say that I also view some of the people here as worthless assholes and my only criticism of John is that he lets a few people be so disruptive.)
What was strange/upsetting to me with this issue was how so many people, so quickly assumed the worst. I didn’t see the normal nuanced thinking.
I can understand how so many of us are sick of war, how we’re sick of having to take the lead so often in these messes. But the outrage/emotion so very much exceeded the thoughtfulness.
@Omnes Omnibus: Great.! That’s a keeper. And we Americans got a first hand look at the Willa Wonka Diplomacy model for about 10 days ahead of this past weekend. It was indeed a Wonkavator with all the requisite moves.
@Bob’s Had Enough: Thanks for describing for me why I felt as I did about the whole Syrian thing. Being reflexively anti-war (not a bad thing) does deprive one of the ability to engage with nuance.
It’s just amazing to me that so many in the media and on the right still, even now, dwell on the process and not the policy result.
@Omnes Omnibus: Empirics says that is unpossible.
If it’s any consolation, JC, I don’t think you’re trolling now or then. I may be against Syrian intervention, now and then, but I’ve agreed with the overall handling. I think there’s some masterful negotiation and manipulation going on there. I still won’t support a drone strike, but not because I’m a pacifist. I just don’t think anything is improving the civil war. Pure selfishness. When I get to shake my head at the vicious bought of cleverness on display in politics, I do have to tip my hat to the perpetrator and in this case, mega tip o’ the hat to Obama et all.
@Bob’s Had Enough: Duncan puts out a consistent product, strikes the right notes, and generally speaks to the insane disconnect that dominates many facets of life. While not being douchey per se, his take has slipped a bit; the commentariat seems to spiral into a positive feedback loop of bitchiness. I like to follow the light, so I can’t get exercised that way and I’ve reluctantly backed away from a site that was my go-to for a long time. Sad when that happens.
Here, I agree with you about the chaotic fuckery that goes on way too often. I enjoy the irreverence and anarchy, and there are some truly keen minds at work here. The poo-flingers really loose the plot much too much and need to be curbed more regularly, if they are checked at all. I don’t know. I could never run a blog about politics, sports, and furry companions. When it works, it is a fun place to spend time in.
Gotta say it, Cole was right.
Well said. Duncan is not long for the blogging world…I can feel it in his posts, like so many who have quit before him. He’s bored with repeating himself.
As usual, I would hate to see him go. I don’t know how many readers he has, and am too lazy to check, but the shit he says needs to be repeated.
@Mike E: Pie filters need to be issued to every new recruit. I got so many flavors of pie tonight, it’s like a County Fair.
@Felonius Monk: Larry Klayman? Jesus Christ, is someone still paying that asshole to mouth off in public?
Can I just say, there is so much commenty goodness on this thread it’s hard to know which to steal first. I love you all.
I love him too, Mr. Cole. We’ve got ourselves a brilliant President. And we can criticize him when we feel he’s moving in the wrong direction.
Have to laugh at you defending yourself against charges that you are trolling your own blog! Dang, you have some tough commenters.
@Bob’s Had Enough: Many of us on the left are not going to allow the media, rightwingers, etc., to define President Obama for us. And I see a future of President Obama being in demand not just here in the US but around the world. He’ll be a relatively young man in 2017 so I see him in the public square for a long time to come.
That’s not how it works, Mr. Cole. You’re either on the O-Train, or you are a bitter old cat lady PUMA.
Ha, he’s paraphrasing the Joker: “Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even when the plan is horrifying!”
I do like that he often eventually comes around to some sane decision. In this case, though, I reserve the right to have been terrified by the whole thing. Kerry was really sticking his neck out in favor of air strikes a little while back; it wasn’t a great start to his tenure as Secretary of State, and I find myself suddenly thankful that we have Markey and Warren in the Senate now.
Obama actually was trying to do what the US claims to be doing all the time, the right thing. Which is, working as the US always claims a leader, leading toward decency and peace. Nobody should have gotten to gas anybody, and Hussein’s doing so, with gas and helicopters that we supplied, will never stop being a blot on our honor, especially since we didn’t do a goddamn thing about it.
But Kerry was going around claiming that his would be a Munich Moment of sellout and cowardice if we did not bomb the h*ll out of Syria. That for me was when I lost all respect for Kerry and Obama on the issue. Now way to explain that in ninth or tenth or whatever dimensional chess. It made Kerry look like an absolute Bozo, and by extension, Obama.
@max: One of the obvious things the last few weeks they much of our media and political elite really do live in “The Village,” a place as encapsulated from reality as this place http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Village_%282004_film%29, but without the benign motives and the consciousness that they are encapsulated. I think their disappointment in the unbombing of Syria is two fold. First, it is entertaining for them and gives 3 easy months to talk about stuff in their columns until the next shiny object comes along for their high school thought processes to wrap around. Second, they see it as sending a message to us in the ignorant masses that really, you don’t count, at least where the decisions on war and the economy are concern. So just go on fighting about abortion and guns.
It does seem a lot people are uncomfortable with nuance. If you are a member of a tribe (or in this case, the sub-tribes of Obots and Firebaggers), one of the way folks exert pressure is to scream, call names, and generally be unpleasant so as to exert pressure to conform. Hence the grief J.C. gets when he criticizes the President or when he defends him. Digby and LGM regularly and usually correctly scorches the administration on economics, labor, and national security policy, without falling into the trap of “Greenwaldism” (e.g. Obama is worse than Bush, etc. etc.).
Of course, that’s not what happened. Please show an example of where Obama is quoted as saying that we should bomb “the h*ll out of Syria”
Here’s what he actually has said:
He said any U.S. action would be constrained: “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria,” he said. “I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan…This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.”
It is difficult not to agree with that. The US should also have intervened in Rwanda and other places. If people are being slaughtered, how do you defend just standing there eventhough you could intervene?
If Assad actually does end up disarmed I will eat my coffee mug.
@Patrick: “It is difficult not to agree with that. The US should also have intervened in Rwanda and other places. If people are being slaughtered, how do you defend just standing there eventhough you could intervene?”
Because the final piece of the puzzle is always “will the anticipated result be a net positive for my country?” In Rwanda, it was not possible to make that case, particularly after Somalia.
It’s called Reaganomenclature.
@sherparick: Nuance is not how this place works. This is Cole’s MO: first he states some dipshit opinion, then later throws a post up like this several scotches in having an argument with a several straw men because he doesn’t read his own blog and prefers to pretend that everyone had the same opinion and different from him. Finally, he pats himself on the back with the non-wanking hand for having an opinion he never fully expressed and forgetting about the dumb shit he said in the first place. Cole doesn’t do nuance.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Kerry’s Munich statement was irritating and over the top, but does saying something once count as “going around claiming”?
Lol…can always count on wr0ng way Cole to go the wr0ng way.
This is the SAME Cole who voted for Bush TWICE and supported the Iraq war. A war entirely predicated on the totally unsubtantiated and ultimately WRONG assumption that he had chemical weapons. Now we have absolute proof and the ONLY military option is absolutely NO boots on the ground and very very limited. In this case Cole was totally against it. Wonder if he can even explain these 2 diametrically opposed positions or is he trying to explain it all away as some giant brain fart and that he was a just a dumb kid at the time or whatever.
Cole is such a hypocritical fool it’s not even much sport trying to make fun of him anymore.
Good post, good update, good points. Obama haters are continually disappointed that he keeps being almost exactly what he said he was when he first ran for president.
Worst troll I have seen in a long time. I’d be inclined to think that John wrote it just to fuck with us … and kudos if he did. On the other hand, if you are serious, then … sweet mother of fuck, what a stupid bunch of shit you wrote there.
I would like to see Chief Justice Barack Obama.
His next great legacy could be returning that nest of vipers to the real world.
Great post, JCole. Bookmarking it.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviets offered to remove their missiles from Cuba, if the U.S. removed some missiles from Turkey. While Kennedy and his staff were thinking of how to respond, the Soviets gave another, different offer. Rather than respond to the second offer, JFK pretended that he never got it, and responded to the first offer in such a manner as if it was two letters passing each other in the mail. Even though the Soviets were not thrilled about JFK taking an earlier offer, it was a facesaving way for both sides to climbdown.
In any negotiation – all sides have to be seen walking away with something. Assad is losing his chemical weapons, but he does not have to worry about a US strike at the moment. Russia looks like it prevented a strike, preserves its remaining Arab ally, and locks down chemical weapons that could have slipped into anti-Russian hands. Israel’s main concern is that Assad not let the violence spill over into their country, which he has done so far, and they will take independent measures to make sure he does not send advanced weaponry to Hezbollah. Iran is still persuaded not to leave the nuclear talks.
And this is the sign of failure?
Then you know nothing, John Cole. He said there’s no military solution to the Syrian civil war. That’s all he said. You appear to be setting yourself up for potential disappointment. And I say that as someone hoping that the US doesn’t bomb by Christmas.
Oh, man, you made my day! As I clean up after that spitake-inducing sentence, I tip my hat to you, sir, for your grand self-delusion. Just drink that Kool-Aid and step through the looking glass into Opposite World.
Also, too, John Kerry is to diplomacy what Down Syndrome is to the human central nervous system.
But, then again “the smart guy out there” put him there, didn’t he?
@Yatsuno: Umatilla wrapped up munitions disposal in 2011 and is on course for full closure by 2015. (My office roommate’s family is from Boardman.)
Few people have criticized president Obama as much as I have. And guess what? I support Obama on this too.
Obama has done the smart sensible prudent thing on Syria. He’s chosen not to give in to the hysterics and the warmongers. He cleverly gave the Republicans in the House a chance to hang themselves when Republicans started screaming for yet another endless unwinnable foreign war.
Obama deserves all the kudos he’s getting for defusing the Syria situation. Sure, it seems to have been accidental, and Putin seems to have blundered into an offer that inadvertently might resolve the situation, but who cares? However they did it, they avoided another endless unwinnable foreign quagmire.
Good for Obama. If he acted this way all the time, there’d be no one supporting him more strongly than I.
I’d just like to see Obama kill the worthless infinitely expensive non-working Joint Strike Fighter with a signing statement, and shut down Gitmo with an executive order, and starting pulling troops out of Afghanistan by executive order. And don’t tell “Obama doesn’t have the power to do that.” Obama just ordered the IRS not to enforce part of the ACA for a year. If Obama has the authority to order a branch of the government not to enforce a congressional law, he goddamn well has the authority to order a branch of the government to shut down part of an army base or to start pulling troops out of a theater of war.
A day late (actually a week) but the reason why I love the guy is that he is S-M-A-R-T and has a sense of nuance to work a goal. I have a complete belief that he decided with the chemical weapons attack that he could pose the US on the brink and Putin would fall all over himself to avoid a strike at Syria by grabbing at a proposal of one year ago from Obama! Obama did a uie at 95 mph to go to Congress… there must have been murmers from Lavrov that Syria would turn over its weapons under Russian/Int’l authority and, in the process, ha ha ha (my favorite part of this story), ADMIT for the first time they had chemical weapons!…win win win in my review!