I watched the speech last night with my girlfriend and a bunch of our friends — I was able to leave the office at 10 p.m. after a 13-hour work day. Even cynical me felt better after watching the president’s acceptance speech.
Watching the left-wing establishment’s response to the debate only confirmed their complicity in what transpired in it. THEY BUILT THIS. They give a token quadrennial handjob to unions, before kicking them back to the curb—then have the audacity to be peeved that their candidate doesn’t mention unions in a domestic policy debate. They rely on the fact that women and homosexuals have no other choice—then act stunned that they neither group is used as important leverage in a domestic policy debate. They take cash from the same Wall St. ghouls as the GOP—then seem aghast that a candidate spends no time embracing “the 99%.” Well, no shit: to quote the vapid poster they probably tacked up next to Klimt’s “The Kiss” in their dorm rooms a thousand years ago, Obama became the change you want to see in the world.
Watching left-wing pundits express shock that the GOP candidate lied his ass off for a couple hours is flabbergasting. They’ve had 44 years of the Republican Party doing this since Nixon’s comeback: how is this not a default expectation? The American right masterfully effects profound sadness at the cynicism of political discourse before beating the shit out of amputee combat veterans—Max Cleland and Tammy Duckworth—as un-American whiners. What aspect of 2000-Present seems insufficient cause for massive, permanent distrust?
I’ll co-sign all of this and add that a major part of the problem is that conservatives, when their concerns aren’t addressed, take over their party. Liberals and progressives decide to take their ball and go play with third parties or sit the whole thing out, thinking purity is better than getting one’s hands and clothes dirty.
Grass-roots conservatives spent more than four decades running for every elected office under the sun and demanding their candidates adhere to certain principles. It’s long past time for liberals to do the same in terms of advocating for unions, labor, civil rights for women, homosexuals, and other minorities, reproductive rights, and things we took for granted as “settled policy.” You can’t be flabbergasted that a Democratic president doesn’t talk about women’s choice, same-sex marriage, unions, etc. when there has been nothing but reward for ostensibly liberal politicians to not care or antagonize supporters of these things (particularly with regard to unions and reproductive rights.)
So the line Obama dropped tonight? “I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President.”
Reminded me a lot of the big speech Michael Douglas made at a White House presser in The American President, which concludes with “My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I AM the President.” (It’s a reference/rebuke to Richard Dreyfus’ Republican senator, who’s the likely opponent in the fall, who ends his speeches with: “I’m Bob Rumson, and I’m running for President!”) So much so I wondered if someone slipped Aaron Sorkin a draft of the speech to re-write.
If you excise the stuff he goes on about Annette Benning’s Sydney Ellen Wade, just substitute Mitt Romney for Bob Rumson and it’s pretty much the tone Obama used tonight — talking about the divisions the GOP want to exploit, how they’re not offering solutions so much as selling you on some nostalgia. That said, hearing a fictional Democratic president talk about gun control and banning assault weapons really tells you it’s the 1990s, cos no one dares do that any more.
If the reports are accurate, this is Romney going all in on the old style of Republican trickle-down economics. He wants to go with a budget person who wants to privatize Medicare and whose budget plans would raise taxes on most of us and cut them for the rich.
It’s a real serious contrast for this election. Nobody’s hiding anything here. It is the collective good of the political commonwealth against pure individualism, based out of Objectivist philosophy.
Obama supporters can’t be cocky. Ryan is slick and a D.C. darling, taken seriously despite wanting to destroy the country’s social compact. And he excites the base, when turnout rules all.
But the Obama campaign should have a high old time making attack ads with this choice.
Considering that the last four years have seen countless GOP officials describe Obama as a Kenyan anti-colonialist baby-genociding Mao Hitler Stalin Pol Pot crypto-Bin Laden determined to enslave the white race at the hands of one-world United Nations Nazi Communism, maybe likening him to a snack beloved by millions of children and adults can slide.
“Mobutu Sese Seko”, writing his usual must-read at Gawker, this time on the stupidity that is the bottom-feeding rhetoric that has the presidential candidates referring to each other as “Romney Hood” and “Obamaloney.” (You should probably also follow him on Twitter as @Mobute.)
The problem is that supporting it personally is only half a measure. I realize endorsing it is a political risk (albeit less of one) and I see the political comparisons to how Lincoln handled the issue of slavery and how Kennedy and Johnson handled civil rights legislation (not to compare the issues in and of themselves, merely the rhetoric used to advance them by heads of state). It’s playing the long game.
But saying you personally support same-sex marriage while saying it’s a state issue as state bans are on a collision course with the Supreme Court seems half-hearted at best and disappointing at worst, particularly as North Carolina bans marriage equality. This is not to take the president to task as the hypocrites in the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud tried to with a straight face. It’s just that as Mitt Romney makes his pledge to back DOMA and push for a federal amendment banning same-sex marriage, it would be nice if the fellow who’s supposed to be in our corner would push harder instead of waiting to be pushed by the populace.
You may be behind, Mr. President, but now that you’re with us, you owe it to us to get out in front. The people who hate you will damn you either way and not vote for you come November, so why not fight for more?
What stuns you about this “joke” is the sheer embrace of cruelty. Here is a woman who lost her life to cancer. And what touches your heart is imagining her son as the product of bestiality. Though less crudely stated, this embrace of cruelty is arguably the dominant feature of the present conservative movement. It has been repeatedly expressed in alleged “humor.” The assertion of a right of judgement over the First Lady’s physical person, for instance.Or watermelon patches on the front lawn. Or Obama waffles. There is little distance from that kind of cruelty to aspirin between one’s legs and from aspirin between one’s legs to transvaginal probes .
It’s worth noting that Steve Jobs was like just like every other American CEO, whining about government regulation, praising China for its friendliness to business, and bitching about unions (in this case, teachers’ unions who are somehow responsible for all the suckage in the American education system.)
The reason why President Obama has to/can give two completely different speeches to the Hispanic community and the black community is partly to soothe non-black (mostly white) voters that he’s not playing favorites, but also because there is a long tradition of this sort of rhetoric in the black community. (Not that I’m excusing it; I don’t think this bootstraps crap works and it’s condescending.) I can even speak about anecdotes about family members telling me “Ain’t nobody gonna do this for you or wait to help you. Make them notice you. Do right by yourself.”
(Also, it’s not black people he needs to win over. Despite the rough times, most polls I remember seeing show African-Americans are still fully in his corner.)
It’s instructive about the president in the sense that he is black but didn’t grow up with the “traditional” black experience in America — and it’s instructive in the ways we as a country are not comfortable with acknowledging what the traditional black experience in America means now — because we have to talk about a history of slavery and disenfranchisement again.
For thirty years, we have been told by our leaders to estrange ourselves from our political natures, to ignore what Aristotle said, and to pretend that we are not political in our daily lives, in our daily work, or even in how we choose (or choose not) to govern ourselves. If we still recognized our essential political nature, we would recognize the inherent absurdity of people who spend millions of dollars to campaign for a political office on the grounds that they are ‘not a politician.’
Charlie Pierce in Esquire on the attempted bombing in Spokane, WA last MLK Day, our inability to call out right-wing domestic terrorism for what it is, and our unwillingness to admit that we are all political.