For the Rahm haters

I found Steve Clemon’s description of this piece so annoying and ridiculous that I was unable to read the piece itself. People say it’s good, it’s Henry Edward Luce on Obama’s (too) close-knit team of advisers from Chicago, especially but not only Rahm.

Now that I check I can’t access the piece anyway because of the FT paywall. But you may be able to.

Update. Steve Clemons asks what I don’t like about his piece. So here’s what really got me:

I will never forget when Rahm Emanuel laughingly responded well within earshot of several national media (and this blogger/writer) at an Inaugural bash to an inquiry if Emanuel was enjoying putting Tom Daschle on the basement floor of the White House in a non-descript office pretty far from the president. Emanuel joked back glibly that Daschle had to be happy with any office in the White House because “any square inch of real estate inside the White House — no matter where it is — is more valuable than anything outside it.”

Compare this flippant meanness and hubris..

How is that in any way “flippant meanness and hubris”? Isn’t it what everybody in Washington believes? I thought it was a good thing to believe that someone should be more proud to work in the White House than as a corporate dog’s body (I’m trying to give an accurate description of what Daschle was doing when he was being considered for HHS)?

Maybe I’m making a mountain of mole hill here, but this bothers me.

170 replies
  1. 1
    John Quixote says:

    Who wants to bet that Clemons’ hit piece gets him on Maddow or Olbermann this evening?

  2. 2
    Jackie says:

    You have to register, but it’s not a paywall.

  3. 3
    John Quixote says:

    Set up a Team B with diverse political and national security observers like Tom Daschle, John Podesta, Brent Scowcroft, Joshua Micah Marshall, G. John Ikenberry, Joseph Nye, Fareed Zakaria, Katrina vanden Heuvel, John Harris, James Fallows, Chuck Hagel, Strobe Talbott, James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and others to give you a no-nonsense picture of what is going on.

    That paragraph kills brain cells.

  4. 4
    El Cid says:

    Edward Luce, the Financial Times‘ Washington bureau chief, not Henry Luce, right wing ideologue and creator and longtime publisher of Time, and Chang Kai-Shek promoter.

  5. 5
    El Cid says:

    @John Quixote: That was the most ridiculous part — I mean, I like reading TPM, but, (a) really, Josh Micah Marshall as administration inside adviser (okay, but maybe I’d like to hear some argument), and (b), “Team B” is pretty famous as a term for right wing neo-Khan hacks ginning up faked over-estimates of enemy power so as to justify aggressive military spending and actions. And fuck Strobe Talbott and James Baker to hell. The only reason such types were seen as sages in the last decade was that as Bush Sr. officials they were much less crazy than Bush Jr. officials.

  6. 6
    John Quixote says:

    @El Cid: Putting Katrina Vanden Heuvel in the White House would cause me to vote Republican.

  7. 7

    The “other reasons” given (paralyzed government, big O’s problems with communication,) seem more convincing. But I wonder how much FOO (Friend of Obama) Valerie Jarrett knows about running the executive branch. Does this smack of Clinton’s disastrous first couple of years, when he had the hapless Mack Maclarty running about?

  8. 8
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Now that I check I can’t access the piece anyway because of the FT paywall.

    I haven’t been able to get to it either.

  9. 9
    Keith says:

    Looking at my friend, I see that if you take the URL, change “false.html” to “true.html”, and remove ‘&_i_referrer’ and everything after, you may read the

  10. 10
    Napoleon says:


    But is she in any kind of political or policy positon of any consequence? My impression she really is not.

  11. 11
    Woodbuster says:

    Thanks, but no thanks. I cannot stand to read a “reporter” who takes it upon themselves to give direct orders to the President to do a goddam thing (Joe Klein, I’m looking at you!) . Want to run the office? Then run for office!

    And that rogue’s gallery of names that Clemons runs out there is stoopid. Katrina in the WH? Kill me now. Baker? Kill me twice.

    As for the article itself, no thanks Also Too. Insidery bullshit like that is too much like a hit piece for my tastes.

  12. 12
    BTD says:

    As a card carrying Rahm-hater, I thought it was weak.

    The problem with Rahm is not that he is mean, it is that he is not very good at his job – which is to help the President enact the agenda of his choosing.

    Rahm also is not great at enacting the agenda of his choosing either, but that is a different story.

    The legend of Rahmbo, is a false myth. He also is ill suited to be CoS because his interests are not the President’s interests.

    But I do not think the article gets to the real issue regarding Rahm.

  13. 13
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Obama has gotten passed nearly every major bill he has proposed his first year, including the largest single progressive spending bill in history, AKA, the deceptively termed “Stimulus”. Only HCR has faltered once initiated, and mostly because of Joe Lieberman and completely intransigent wingnuts. And a decent, though not ideal bill was on cruise control to passage until Mass. HCR that no one has come close to passing, though many have tried, for 60 odd years.

    Not what I would call enormous failure, especially for just the first year, but whatever floats your boat.

    being an Obot, my opinion may be influenced by purple plastic Unicorns and insufficient progressivism.

  14. 14
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Well, if the “stimulus” as passed was the President’s agenda, despite Romer’s warnings, I’d be surprised.

    What other “major” bills are we talking about here?

  15. 15
    Paul W. says:

    Meanwhile, Republicans have a bang-up political operation because of their wild successes in the 2008 campaign when they lost Red states like Virginia and North Carolina. Palin’s employees run around criticizing Limbaugh while Palin is giving him a pass and demonizing reporters like Greg Sergeant for posting what her spokespeople say. Oh yes, Obama’s team is definitely the one full of short falls here.

    Let’s also remember that the media has turned on Obama since the election, while folks like Palin and the concern trolls throughout the Senate get a pass on saying outright lies like Obama is a threat to the Constitution or the underpants bomber hasn’t given us any info because we read him his rights.

    TPM gives into contrarianism, and my head meets my keyboard. Sigh.

  16. 16
    ChrisB says:

    OT but I did enjoy this morning when Andrea Mitchell was reporting on Sarah Palin and had written Morning Joe and the Today Show on her palm to remind herself what shows she had to appear on.

    Needless to say, it was on Morning Joe so nobody saw it and I hated myself for watching the show but it was funny nonetheless. I wonder if she included that bit in her Today Show report. That would have been interesting.

  17. 17

    @John Quixote:

    Diverse political views are overrated.

  18. 18
    valdivia says:

    This is pretty fucking aggravating. DougJ has not even read the original article, thinks Clemons piece is bad, but it would be irresponsible not to give joy to the Rahm haters so let’s link to it? I guess we might as well just declare that the Republicans are fucking right and the Chicago team is a bunch of thugs because that is the whole fucking frame of the Luce piece. Just because it is the FT it does not magically become a good piece. It is a hatchet job by anonymous Important DC People who think that the Chicago Team is just as bad as the Arkansas and Georgia teams of Clinton and Carter.

    I really cannot believe every fucking blog on the left is linking to an article most people linking have NOT even READ because it is buzz worthy? annoys the obots? it would be irresponsible not to critsize and make Obama look incompetent and weak like the Republicans want to make him look.

    I am glad I will be on this hellish train ride all day and wont have a chance to read this bs.
    /rant not-even-close to being over

  19. 19
    John Quixote says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Not what I would call enormous failure, especially for just the first year, but whatever floats your boat.

    Clinton was a disaster as well. That economic expansion of the 1990’s (biggest in US history) was truly the worst of times.

  20. 20
    MikeJ says:

    He came in and trashed the place and it’s not his place. When will these yokels from the sticks learn that you have to do things the DC way?

  21. 21
    John Quixote says:

    @Brien Jackson: The views of old men in thier 70’s, bloggers, and magazine publishers are not what I would call ‘diverse’.

  22. 22
    Keith G says:

    @valdivia: Making me smile yet again.

    You *are* good.

  23. 23
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Rahm is not retarded, he is actually quite sharp. But Rahm’s mom used to make him dress up and do ballerina dances. So now he hates everybody.

    Reverend Wright teaches us:

    “[Barack’s] gotta do what politicians do. Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-Israel.”

    As Rahm knows that Barack has deeper loyalty to the good Reverend than he does to Rahm and Dave, who cashed out $3 million while Barack only got a small fraction of this for his book advance before he took office, making him bitter, this makes Rahm very nervous. And as the Practice becomes harder to reconcile with the Theory, these two groups will surely split.

    Which should make for excellent TV and very interesting teleprompter readings.

  24. 24
    Napoleon says:

    @John Quixote:

    Clinton was a disaster as well. That economic expansion of the 1990’s (biggest in US history) was truly the worst of times.

    Of course in retrospect it turns out that it was all built on a bubble economy that has lasted until this day (the bubble maybe gone but there is no underlying strength in the economy to make it bounce back).

    Now, maybe if Clinton had also passed all those wonderful things he promised for workers like retraining, etc. that were the sweetener to make the bitter pill of NAFTA go down better it would be a different story, but he didn’t. We got the law FIRE wanted and not the stuff that would straightened the economy for the little guy.

  25. 25
    natthedem says:

    My favorite part of any Steve Clemons post is the way he interjects himself into the discussion of any issue by telling you who his “friends” are…

  26. 26
    Brian J says:

    Go into Google News, type in “A Fearsome Foursome,” and you should be able to read it.

  27. 27
    kay says:


    I stopped reading right there. I got a little lost. I found myself trying to figure out what was quoted from the FT piece and what was Clemon’s editorializing.
    Why are we reading a description of another article?
    Does anyone know if the Clemon’s piece even accurately reflects the source article?
    I think I might skip this whole controversy. We’re at, what, 3rd hand information here? It’s too complicated.
    I’ll wait for the description of the Clemon’s article, and the whole shaky structure can sort of implode on itself.

  28. 28
    General Winfield Stuck says:


    Well, if the “stimulus” as passed was the President’s agenda, despite Romer’s warnings, I’d be surprised.

    I am talking about the large amount of money dedicated to all sorts of long term progressive goals in energy research, medical and other r and d areas. They were long term stimulus and not intended for the present. It is why the wingers hate that bill so much, as they could care less about short term economic recovery. I just wish progs would give the credit instead of harping on the 100 billion less compromise, and recognize the long term investment in prog causes. It was just one bill, but dwarfs any other prog wish list for spending since at least The Great Society.

    Progs can focus on the short term stim spending being insufficient to jump start the current floundering economy, and maybe have a point it wasn’t big enough for that. Though I am one who believes stimulus spending bills have limited effect on recessions, especially this one that is severe and structural and would take the time it needs to internally restructure and repair itself.

    And as far major bills, I was talking about the ones that were initiated by congress getting passed. Obviously, we have been stuck on HCR for the past 5 or 6 months and not much else has been done in the mean time. Though I will let Politifact lay out Obama’s record on campaign promises kept, not kept, and in the works, or compromised. Just to tighten up the Obama fail wanking that permeates the left side blogosphere.

  29. 29
    jwb says:

    @valdivia: This was my thought as well: more concern trolling about Obama being weak and controlled by Chicago machine politics–those are rightwing talking points; no one on the left should even think of adopting them.

  30. 30
    edmund dantes says:

    And yet, if Obama goes through with this bi-partisan summit, he’s a Grade A maroon!!! /Bugs Bunny.

    He shouldn’t be wasting his time trying to get the republican’s input. They had 6 plus months to do so when Baucus and his pals were out there fucking around trying to get that elusive republican vote.

    What is the end game of waiting till Feb 25th for this bi-partisan health summit? The only way it could make a tiny bit of sense is if it’s a summit to iron out the fixes to the just signed HCR bill. If it’s to try to get some bi-partisan solutions to passing a new HCR, he’s beyond being an idiot, and it means he only cares about getting a bill that is called HCR regardless of whether it actually does it. There is no way the Republicans are going to give him or the Dems anything run on in 2010 mid-terms at this point.

  31. 31
    Egilsson says:

    DougJ, please read the Post’s column from some nutty professor.

    It’s unbelievable to me this is what is passing as some serious academic thought. The cherry-picking, the dishonesty, the smearing – and then we learn he’s speaking at the AEI today.

  32. 32
    Brian J says:

    As for the article itself, it isn’t entirely worthless, but I’m not sure I really believe that he’s making decisions about China without consulting the proper people. What else could the decision to have those with “extensive knowledge” of the country not travel with him directly mean? Perhaps he was just trying to discuss business unrelated to China while traveling.

    The basic thrust of the article is that he’s relying on the same few people to get advice. That might be true in a political sense, but in a policy sense? I doubt it. It goes against what we know about Obama. This is, after all, the same guy who spent months consulting various people about what to do about Afghanistan, the same guy who has several different high profile economic thinkers (those from the CEA, the NEC, and so on). If Rahm is keeping people at a distance, perhaps he is going overboard, but that’s more or less what his job is: he’s the Chief of Staff, for Christ’s sake.

  33. 33
    Brian J says:


    Do you think Christina Romer was warning against the stimulus? What in the world makes you think that?

    I’m not saying she approved of every single program in it, but I read Brad DeLong’s blog daily–he taught with her at Berkeley–and there’s no doubt in my mind she supported it. She almost certainly wanted it bigger, as the calculations of her and people like Paul Krugman suggested was necessary, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t approve of what was passed.

  34. 34
    Comrade Jake says:

    This just reads to me like a lot of “Obama’s not talking to the right people in DC, aka my friends” type of wankery.

  35. 35
    jwb says:

    @edmund dantes: This summit has little to do with HCR; it’s a bit of political theater designed to show that the goopers don’t have any serious ideas. This is not to say that I think the summit is a good idea. The goopers have to know what’s in store and I seriously doubt that they will come unprepared to turn the proceedings on their head. On the other hand Obama himself is very good in these sorts if events so if he’s prepared for the gooper funny business it may well end up a net gain, especially if the goopers overplay their hand.

  36. 36
    Dannie22 says:

    Rahm must be kicking butt and taking names for all these folks to be mad at him. Handle your business Rahm. Just keep doing what your doing

  37. 37
    Ana Gama says:

    It’s not a true pay wall. You can register for free, and then be able to access 10 articles per month.

    The FT article puts the blame on not closing Gitmo squarely on Rahm. An unnamed source quotes Rahm saying:

    Rahm said: “We’ve got these two Boeing 747s circling that we are trying to bring down to the tarmac [healthcare and the decision on the Afghanistan troop surge] and we can’t risk a flock of f***ing Canadia geese causing them to crash,” says an official who attended a strategy meeting. The geese stood for the closure of Guantanamo.

    Can’t help but wonder if “the official” is Greg Craig.

    It also alludes to dissatisfaction and alienation of close outside supporters by Rahm, and quotes one unnamed source saying:

    “We are treated as though we are children,” says the head of a large organization that raised millions of dollars for Mr. Obama’s campaign. “Our advice is never sought. We are only told: ‘This is the message, please get it out.’ I am not sure whether the president fully realizes that when the chief of staff speaks, people assume he is speaking for the president.”

    Could that be someone like Andy Stern?

  38. 38
    Brian J says:


    They recently released a budget which calls for massive cuts in Medicare. Not a proposal for changing the incentives, mind you, just straight cuts that begin once the voucher value drops below the projected increases in health care costs each year. If they are allowed to attend this event but not be reminded of this as, among other things, as an example of their lack of ideas, we should just go home.

  39. 39
    Malron says:

    I really love to wake up in the morning and listen to progressives lamenting the “death of health care reform” when the senate bill is still sitting in the House because its against their principles to just pass the damn thing and put it on the president’s desk to sign.

    Steve Clemons is a hack who’s been concern trolling the president since the primaries. The end.

  40. 40
    Rook says:

    Jeez, you’d think the journalists still pine for the good old Bush days of iron-fist control over media access and a chance at playing cute to get kissed first.

  41. 41
    Brian J says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Maybe if he did more outreach to the Republicans as he moved towards the center, he’d have been more successful.

  42. 42
    BTD says:

    @Brian J:

    Ah, the willful misunderstanding. She was warning that the size of the stimulus was way too small.

    But forget it. No one wants to hear this anymore.

    It was what it was.

    If you think the stimulus was the right size, hell, if you think Obama thought it was the right size, then that’s what you think.

    I won’t try to convince you otherwise.

  43. 43
    BTD says:


    I think the article is weak, but come on. Sheesh. Can’t someone just be wrong about something as opposed to “concern trolling” any time they criticize the Administration?

    Full disclosure, Steve is a friend of mine (I daresay he probably is a friend of Cole’s too.) And yet, I have been able to disagree with Steve on a lot of things without resorting to calling him names.

  44. 44
    El Cid says:

    @Malron: I don’t know about other people, but I’m not yet lamenting the ‘death’ of HCR, but I am lamenting the fact that I’m still worried that it may die. And I could wish in one hand and shit in the other about what I think Congress ought do, but I don’t think it’ll change what’s likely to happen.

  45. 45
    Ash Can says:

    If there’s anything at all I learned from my own experience in DC politics, it’s that there’s no substitute for first-hand knowledge. None. If you’re not in on the closed-door meetings yourself, you’re at a disadvantage information-wise, even if your best friend in the whole wide world, whom you would trust with your life, is feeding you information from those meetings. You can never be sure you have the whole story unless you get it yourself, at the source. Based on everything I’ve heard about this article so far (I like and respect the FT, but I’m not going to jump through its registration hoops to read this drivel), it sounds like little more than a long-winded expression of butthurt at not being in on those closed-door meetings.

    PS: Anyone who thinks it’s a reasonable suggestion to Obama to ditch his circle of longtime colleagues, helpers and friends in favor of a motley bunch of DC insiders is on crack.

  46. 46
    BTD says:

    @Ana Gama:

    Jane Mayer has similar reporting.

    Personally, I do not think that is a big deal. Does it matter much if the detainees are in the Super Max instead of Gitmo?

    The real issue is the process given the detainees.

    Rahm’s opposition to the civilian trial of KSM, at least as reported, is more disturbing.

  47. 47
    kay says:


    The stimulus shaved two points off the unemployment rate and brought visible, tangible benefits to every Congressional district in the country.

    Liberals spent six months joining with conservatives to discredit it, because they inexplicably thought the general public would understand they objected because it wasn’t big enough.

    I shouldn’t say “liberals”. Krugman backed off when he saw what was happening.

  48. 48
    BTD says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Well, I believed the big issue was using the stimulus to save the economy and jobs. In short, I was spend more, even if it amounted to digging holes and filling them in fiscal stimulus.

    The economy is teetering as we speak, imo.

    We needed a bigger short term stimulus, imo.

    And I think in Obama’s opinion as well.

    In that sense, Obama’s agenda was not realized.

  49. 49
    BTD says:


    Your point escapes me. I know the general public could not care less what i (or most bloggers) wrote. the non-general public either.

    But you are asking people like Krugman to basically lie. well, I think he will not do it.

    For example, I do not believe his support of the Senate health bill is a lie to support the Obama Administration. I think it is genuine. Including his support of the excise tax.

    I think he is wrong, but genuinely wrong. Not wrong in order to support Dems.

  50. 50
    darryl says:

    I found Steve Clemon’s description of this piece so annoying and ridiculous

    I find your misuse of apostrophes annoying and ridiculous.

  51. 51
    kay says:


    No. You got it wrong. I’m not asking Krugman to “lie”. Krugman backed of the stimulus bashing when he realized the battle was over.
    The stimulus worked. It shaved two points off the unemployment rate. A bigger stimulus might have shaved off three. You, specifically, are still focusing on the point you lost.
    That’s just silly.

  52. 52
    kay says:

    Plugged in well-connected Democrats could be helpful right now if they find a way to get Jamie S. Gorelick to stop blocking student loan reform, instead of focusing on Rahm.

  53. 53
    General Winfield Stuck says:


    In that sense, Obama’s agenda was not realized.

    No one has a good handle on what it would or will take for the economy to recover, though it seems to be doing that as we speak. Coulda woulda shoulda, more spending and more targeted dollars for immediate use say with infrastructure projects would obviously help in the short run. For people finding work now, and politically for Obama. But it’s what we got, and I am much more pleased with the long term commitments for spending on progressive causes than marginal benefits from a few hundred billion more in the stim bill. And, of course, it wasn’t the last word on stimulus. And I doubt Obama intended it to be. Why is it so hard for people to get that this guy thinks ahead and long term? You see the stim bill as fail, I see it as Obama pulling the wool over wingers eyes out of the gate with liberal causes now with lots of long term dollars behind them, and the wingnuts can’t do anything about it. Mean time unemployment drops, GDP rises and Obama fails. Proof/pudding. And a new jobs bill on the way to maybe keep it going. In some circles, it’s called progress.

  54. 54
    The Other Steve says:

    Rahm came on SNL and gave an Even Tempered Apology for all this stuff.

  55. 55
    kay says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Because if spending isn’t called “stimulus” or a “jobs bill” it doesn’t “count”.
    They’re never again going to call any stimulus measure “stimulus” because the package known as “the stimulus” has been so dishonestly portrayed that it’s politically toxic.
    Yet, my wingnut House member has stimulus projects displayed on his website, so Republicans are benefiting from it. Not Democrats, though. It wasn’t big enough, so we all decided to trash it for 2 years.

  56. 56
    georgia pig says:

    Reads like courtier whining about not being seated at the king’s table (both pieces). The Valerie Jarett envy is fucking high school, and Clemons throws around gossip and rumor like it’s fact. So, Axelrod and Gibbs are the only ones trusted to carry the message, while the feelings of such important people as Janet Napolitano are hurt? Let’s see, Napalitano fucked the dog twice at important moments by saying something stupid. I’m sure she’s good at her job, but maybe Gibbs and Axelrod are better at talking to the press? Kathleen Sibelious and Ken Salazar are not exactly scintillating public figures, either. Oh, and isn’t Plouffe already back on the team? This is just some opportunism by people who think there’s an opening for a power move. Dumbass way to do it, by saying that Obama’s presidency is failing. The Plan B team is a joke. I’d rather talk to Boehner, at least he and Obama can share a smoke.

  57. 57
    jwb says:

    @Brian J: If they come with that lame proposal and Obama isn’t able to knock that hanging curve out of the park then he really has no business playing this game. The goopers should know this, and I’d be very surprised if they come with anything concrete except for maybe the old chestnut of tort reform. I’m actually expecting the goopers to offer a bunch of vacuous sound bites designed to derail the conversation without seeming to. The question is how Obama reacts when the goopers refuse to play his game.

  58. 58
    BTD says:


    Well, Krugman was doing “I told you sos” last week so I am not sure what you mean.

    BTW, I found it gratuitous and small of him to do so. If he wants to argue for more stimulus that’s one thing. the “I told you so” was weak from him. Hell, he;s a Nobel Prize winner.

  59. 59
    Balconesfault says:

    Any serious survey of the Obama administration’s accomplishments and setbacks over the last year has to conclude that the administration is deeply in the red.

    Ignoring that most Presidential Historians give Obama’s first year something around a B.

  60. 60
    Rhoda says:

    I love how he glosses over the fact that most serious people saw the China trip as an actual success for the most part and Fallows spent a weak calling out the MSM for not getting it’s ducks in a row and reporting the facts.

    Brian J, thanks for the Google News tip.

    The Gitmo mess and the civil liberties issues do seem to be falling on Rahm’s doorstep; and that pisses off progressives. But the nation as a whole is cuckoo for coco puffs on this issue. And the democratic caucus as a whole wouldn’t stand with the president on this issue; look how they fell apart on terror trials in New York! Why? Because it’s always good politics to give into the fear. It’s why Schumer doesn’t want any trials and Bloomberg went back on his original decisions, not because of cash (the Fed would have paid) but because he saw the polling on the wall and the likes of King were about to attack on this issue.

    I have issues w/Rahm. But he’s not driving this adminstration over a cliff. The do nothing senate democratic caucus is doing that all by it’s lonesome. The fact is, if the Democrats can keep a majority in the senate but it’s down to 51 or 52 and keep the house the WH will be in a better place to actually force deals b/c the Republicans can be easily painted as obstructionists w/out hurting conservadems.

    That’s really my only problem w/Rahm. He’s not willing to take the risk and go big by starting a fight w/in the Democratic caucus.

  61. 61
    Napoleon says:


    Why is it weak from him? When it was original proposed he said it was too small so he has every right to say I told you so. On top of it I want him to say it because unless people are calling out Obama from the left they will do nothing but know-tow to Pete Peterson, the GOP and Even Bayh.

  62. 62
    cat48 says:


    FT, hmm. Remember…..”Obama is like Felix the Cat because he is black and he is lucky.” That was an opinion column in that paper by Niall Ferguson. Krugman asked if the paper had editors. Honestly, after the Felix column, I have a hard time going to their site.

    The article Clemons wrote is standard fare for HuffPost where it is crossposted. Those folks have been angry since he refused to nationalize the banks. The hit jobs come fast & furious on that site. As for Gitmo, is he blaming O and Rahm because the Congress froze all funds and will not allow him to buy the IL prison in an election yr? Also, just in case, they also passed a law that no Gitmo detainee could come into US except for trial. Of course we all know how courageously the Congress stood up for the trial in NY for KSM.

    My blood pressure has to go down before I attempt to read the Luce article. I lost it with Clemons when I got to the Gitmo part. Congress has not been helpful this yr.

  63. 63
    Ash Can says:

    @The Other Steve: Oh man, that did my heart and soul good. Thanks for the laugh!

  64. 64
    Napoleon says:


    The fact is, if the Democrats can keep a majority in the senate but it’s down to 51 or 52 and keep the house the WH will be in a better place to actually force deals b/c the Republicans can be easily painted as obstructionists w/out hurting conservadems.

    Have you been asleep since 1994?

  65. 65
    kay says:


    I think he got that fact that stimulus itself was being discredited, and started selling the stimulative parts of the bill known as ‘the stimulus”.
    I can see 2 stimulus projects on my daily rounds here. Television liberals and Democrats should have focused on the 2/3 of the bill that was something to highlight and celebrate. They didn’t. Instead, they insisted it didn’t help. But it did. It helped enormously. 2 points off the unemployment rate is HUGE. It’s NOT 3 points, granted, but WTF? We’re going to continue to complain about that?
    I think the bitching about the stimulus was eventually counterproductive.
    Every public school teacher and cop in Ohio should know they might be laid off without the stimulus. They don’t. Partly because the administration had to push back against both liberals and conservatives.
    What was the point? I think it’s a huge missed opportunity, for Congressional Democrats. It would have been nice if they had a little help.

  66. 66
    artem1s says:

    Of course in retrospect it turns out that it was all built on a bubble economy that has lasted until this day (the bubble maybe gone but there is no underlying strength in the economy to make it bounce back).

    yes, it was such a false economy that all of the telecommunication companies needed huge government bailouts last year. The boom was not a sprite. The telecommunications revolution changed the way we live and do business on a minute by minute basis and will continue to be the driving force in our economy for a long time to come.

    The old guard doesn’t understand something unless its a widget they can hold in their hand and they hate electronic communications because that’s what secretaries used to do, not important rich people. The 90’s economic boom may have looked like it was the same as the housing boom but it only happened in conjunction with that Ponzi scheme. Everything changed about how we conduct our daily lives. It was as radical as the telegraph, indoor plumbing or the electric light bulb. it wasn’t a fluke just because a bunch of fortune 500 board chairs can’t tell the difference between typing and texting.

  67. 67
    Ailuridae says:


    If there is ever something to pass through reconciliation, this is the bill. Instead of countering 100% of the savings from starting a direct student loan program with Pell Grants and the like, make it 99% instead.

    Now if progressives want to stump on something that might do a whole lot of good that would be the cause. Trying to get 60 votes for this in the Senate will be impossible even with Snowe and Collins likely on board.

  68. 68
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @kay: I understand why the wingnuts hate the “stim bill” as I stated in earlier comment. I expect them to for their own oppositional reasons. But it is utterly baffling to me why internet dems join them in misrepresenting it and not giving credit for the parts that deserve it, or their own long time cherished causes. The reasons they have are different than the wingnuts, but have the same negative effect in the publics eye, and actually more effect in bipartisan validating the wingers incessant wails of Obama Fail.

    You would think that alleged Obama supporters, or dems wanting to keep dems in power, would at least put out as much effort into acknowledging it’s good points, rather than stuck of Obama failure all the time. And it does seem all the time. My solution is to treat them as opponents, even more bitter opponents than the wingnuts. Fed up to here with claims of just trying to make Obama do stuff right. Doesn’t wash.

  69. 69
    Bill H says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:
    That’s a pretty good source and, for the most part seems accurate. A few I would quibble with, like listing as “Stalled” the “Find an alternative to the MCA.” That should be “Broken,” since he has fully adopted use of the MCA. There should also be another category, since many of the “Stalled” should be categorized as “Not Yet Attempted.” The former implies he is trying and has been blocked by others but there are many promises he has not gotten to yet. Understandable, and I offer that not to criticize him, but…

  70. 70
    Keith G says:


    Have you been asleep since 1994?

    Since obviously I am not awake yet, could you please specify what point you were making with this question?

  71. 71
    Mary says:

    I’ve not trusted Steve Clemons since he signed a PNAC letter. He also uses spray-on hair.

  72. 72
    Napoleon says:


    I agree with you as far as you go but you ignore the fact that there was a HUGE stock bubble that built up during his administration the popping of which led to a recession. And the fact of the matter is that he did nothing what so ever to reverse the hollowing out of US manufacturing (like every president starting with Carter).

    BTW the current version of The American Prospect has an excellent article comparing the US to Germany and how they have taken a path very different from us and how it has set them up for a sustainable economy and how they avoided many of the bad things that came of the recession.

  73. 73
    gil mann says:

    I know I’m supposed to magically appreciate the (heretofore not in evidence) mad skillz of Rahm “Don’t Talk About The War” Emanuel all of a sudden, but I’m a little confused on the details. Am I supposed to like him because Obama likes him, or because Jane Hamsher doesn’t?

    Sorry, one more question: is Clemons questioning the political efficacy of Obama’s inner circle to make a name for himself/get a book deal, or is he just being a knee-jerk contrarian/concern troll?

    Thanks in advance!

  74. 74
    Rhoda says:

    No, I haven’t been asleep since 1994.

    I wasn’t trying to say this would be good for the country, but it wouldn’t hurt Obama politically.

    Clinton did pretty well with that school uniform shit.

  75. 75
    Da Bomb says:

    @valdivia: You pretty much summed up my feelings on this whole subject.

    It’s another concern troll, being concerned.

    @General Winfield Stuck: Always got to rely on good ol’ Politifact. It’s like some people live in an alternate universe. No matter how many times we link to Politifact, it doesn’t sink in.

  76. 76
    John Quixote says:

    @Napoleon: Germany also just happens to not be populated with sociopathic middle-aged children who are inherently scared of anything that’s not proposed by a white POTUS from the south.

  77. 77
    Napoleon says:

    @Keith G:

    The Republicans have run a largely nihilistic game plan since 1994 doing things like twice shutting the government down in an effort to blow up Medicare, 1000 investigations against Dems when they were in a position to do so, attempting to remove a Dem Pres from office on BS charges, even after they were beat up in the midterm elections while the impeachment was in the middle of the proceedings, blocking numerous Dem Pres. nominees for no good reason at all, etc etc.

    Based on that history of the last 16 years and the fact that if the Rep manage to gain a bunch of seats in both houses based on a total scorched earth policy we are to somehow believe the Rep will suddenly be more open to compromise? That is completely delusional. They will pass nothing and will allow every single Obama nominee to languish until the 2012 presidential election if that would happen.

  78. 78

    Steven Clemons is another Washington insider or insider-wannabe. I don’t know what he does for money, but I don’t think he gets his hands dirty.

  79. 79
    Chad N Freude says:

    OT, but too hilarious to miss.

  80. 80
    Rhoda says:

    So, this is pure bullshit.

    Greg Craig is obviously one of these folks and should have gone on the record. The administration has obviously been avoiding having a national security fight in the middle of health care. It doesn’t help that they have no cover from capitol hill.

    Clemons and the FT say on one hand they’ve run a great inside game and the whole problem is communication. Bull. The president has done his job. This administration is floundering on the senate. They need a game plan to deal with their conserva/corporate democrats who are willing to blow off the party and the caucus. But the house managed to pass the president’s agenda; if the senate had followed we would be in a better place all around.

    People calling to be let in the circle and complaining about the White House should turn this fire on the senate democrats.

    Senate democrats are the ones who have screwed this president and the party; not to mention the country. It was Nelson and Liberman for example who screwed w/the original stimulus proposal and actually took out money for the states w/Spectur, Collins, and Snowe’s help. Rahm is not the main issue, through it sucks he hasn’t had a battle plan for the senate yet. It’s conservadems.

  81. 81
    Brian J says:


    I misunderstood you. My apologies.

    You don’t have to convince me that the stimulus was too small. I’ve been reading Brad DeLong’s insightful comments on why we should be doing more–much more, in fact–of what we have been doing.

  82. 82
    Hal says:

    Why is the solution always “fire everyone” and start all over. Does that ever actually work. And, I have to say I’m starting to agree that Huffpo is becoming more and more of a site for hit pieces on Obama than anything else. Big, bold, headlines trumpeting some failure or another (and comments that are all completely agreeing with the article.) I guess Arianna liked being a power broker a little too much during election season and wants to go back to being on the underdog side fighting the good fight.

    Too bad there isn’t a device that lets you view some alternate reality where all the “What Obama needs to do is” advice has been headed. I’m sure it’s a Utopian reality full of peace, love and prosperity.

  83. 83
    Napoleon says:


    I am sure you are right, but who cares. Obama would be unable to get anything even remotely important done. I couldn’t give a flying f— about Obama and only care about the results the government delivers.

    PS, the filibuster and holds and all that BS in the senate that slows things down need to go no later then when the next Congress gets sworn in or this country will be in the worst shape it has ever been in.

  84. 84
    Max says:

    @valdivia: The article is making the rounds all right.

    You can predict it’s trajectory.

    Huff Po
    Taylor Marsh
    Open Left
    Talk Left (once BTD stops gracing us with his all-knowing presence)

    I check these sites each morning to see what the opposition is saying. I don’t even go to Red State, etal anymore because the above sites have gotten so deep in ODS and trying to increase page views with their anti-Obamaness, the above sites really are the opposition.

    I am waiting for one of the above sites to call Obama, an inadequate, Black male. It’s coming, I’m sure.

    My sanity is saved by the fact that the traffic to the oppo sites is considerably less than here, so the country isn’t completely wacked out.

  85. 85
    Brian J says:

    @Ash Can:

    It’s not exactly the same thing, but your reasoning here is one big reason why I always laughed at those who claimed to know what the marriage of the Clintons was like. I’m not in a relationship now, and I haven’t been married, and while I think it’s possible to have some decent understanding of what a relationship between two people might be like, I know that unless you are in the relationship, you can’t say for sure.

  86. 86
    Chad N Freude says:

    @edmund dantes: John Boehner thinks it’s a good idea:

    In a statement, House Republican leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) said that he looks forward to the discussion, and that he is “pleased that the White House finally seems interested in a real, bipartisan conversation on health care. . . . The best way to start on real, bipartisan reform would be to scrap those bills and focus on the kind of step-by-step improvements that will lower health care costs and expand access.”

  87. 87
    jenniebee says:


    Linked, with the note that I explicitly do not endorse this meme.

    Although it does make an interesting point.

  88. 88
    Foxhunter says:

    @gil mann: re: Clemons

    I’ve read Steve’s blog for several years (well, I used to…not so much recently). He has a penchant for bringing out these over-the-top statements about once a year. Never been able to tell what the intent is – self promotion? concern trolling? Tough to gauge. But I do know this – spend any amount of time on the Washington Note and you will learn three things:

    1) Steve travels. Alot.
    2) Steve like to tell you about his travels. Alot.
    3) Steve likes to also tell you about his friends and in a sort of sometimes Hollywood way (figuratively and literally).

    His inside baseball stuff was interesting, but the self-promotion became a bit much for me to take.

    As others have said, his closing argument as to who BO should bring in as ‘advisers’ speaks volumes as to what circles he truly runs with.

    And by the way, his PNAC association wasn’t exacltly full-throated as Kristol/Kagan/Wolfie et al. He was on board with the Hong Kong democratic rights effort so I don’t exactly find fault with that push.

  89. 89
    cat48 says:


    The size really was up to Congress, namely the Senate which needed 3 repugs to pass the bill. The Senate made the amt smaller. How would you handle them to get more $?? He had to cut deals to get the 3 repugs. How would you handle them? Pull a knife? Threaten hanging? These are real people who want specific things…..a lot harder to negotiate than whine with a column at O. Why not whine at Congress?? They made the decision.

  90. 90
    Max says:

    And there is Steve Clemmons on MSNBC.


    Guess his strategy worked.

  91. 91
    Ana Gama says:

    Well, here we go….Steve Clemons is being interviewed right now by David Schuster on MSNBC.

  92. 92
    Rick Taylor says:

    It’s amazing how much people who agree on the substance of matters can argue and bicker about a matter of emphasis. On one side you have, OHMIGOD, OBAMA PASSED THE HUGEST STIMULUS BILL OVER REPUBLICAN AND SAVED THE ECONOMY and yeah maybe it should have been bigger, and on the other you have, yeah it was good the stimulus bill was passed but OHMIGOD IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BIGGER!

    In my opinion, both views are true, and just emphasize different aspects of what happened. The first is what I’d emphasize anytime I’m talking with someone in the general public where people have no clue what was accomplished, while I’d be more inclined to argue the second with my liberal friends where the positive nature of the stimulus bill is (presumably) already taken for granted.

  93. 93
    Brian J says:


    Perhaps it’d be easier to take a cue from them about messaging and insist, no matter what they say, that his bill is the first step towards actually bringing the long term deficit under control. Remember all the stuff about the Bush tax cuts being about “saving, investing, and creating jobs,” and whatever else they said over and over again, no matter what venue it was in? Obama would have the added advantage of being right.

  94. 94
    kay says:


    The increased student aid that Pelosi pushed and passed beginning in 2006 was mentioned at my book club.
    Women were telling me they 1. noticed it on an individual basis and 2. really appreciated the help.
    I live in a county that sometimes goes 70% “R”. My book club is composed of 8 women who pay no attention to politics, 2 wingnuts, and me.
    If Democrats want a really good populist issue, get student loan reform through. Nothing makes middle class people as hopeless as the idea they can’t afford college for their kids.
    This should have passed the Senate already. The fact that a former Clintonite is lobbying crazily for defeat makes me crazy.
    Reconciliation, whatever. Just pass it.

  95. 95
    John says:

    God, the Clemons article was so incredibly awful that I couldn’t even read it. What a ridiculous tool.

    I was not impressed by the Luce article at all. I mean, come on, complaining that Obama’s cabinet members aren’t on TV much and aren’t in the president’s inner circle? That’s a complaint that could be, and has been, made about every president since FDR, at least. Most of the rest of the article is similar bullshit masquerading as a point, and sour graping by insiders.

    Both Clemons and Luce’s articles take the dubious premise that Obama’s presidency is failing as a given. Then, they ignore the most obvious reasons for what failures have occurred – congressional obstructionism, the bad economy – because those don’t allow them to blame Rahm Emanuel.

    I don’t love Rahm Emanuel (although that Andy Samberg parody version of Emanuel is pretty awesome), and there’s definitely some things I wish the administration had done differently. They’ve made mistakes. But what new administration doesn’t? I just found the whole premise of both articles totally unconvincing, and the explanations even less convincing.

    And then I come back to the Clemons article, which was really the most infuriating piece of shit I’ve read in some time. Good God, what a tool.

  96. 96
    Napoleon says:


    They only needed one Rep to get it through the Senate and all Dems.

    And as to the size my recollection is that it was Obama that proposed the limit in the size that Congress ran with as the starting point. I can’t get in K-Thugs mind but if his thinking is like mine Obama should have started with a bigger number and laid out in public the bigger numbers that he was privately getting (or at least had been prepared, there is some evidence Rahm kept the worst case senerio which has turned out to be right from Obama) and how not meeting that number was going to cost jobs then basically dare Congress to not meet that number and take 100% of the heat if joblessness got higher then they were comfortable with. Plus it was Obama that wanted several Reps to vote for is so he was for watering it down with tax cuts.

    I bet you the package would have been higher and better balanced if Obama would have acted differant, so in my mind he shares the blame.

  97. 97
    John says:

    Can I also say that my respect for Josh Marshall has gone down based on him not only hosting such rancid shit, but linking it on his front page with an approving gloss?

  98. 98
    kay says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    It wasn’t “internet Dems”. I mean it was, but I agree with BTD that they weren’t driving the “stimulus is a huge failure” theme.
    It was television Dems pundits, joining with television conservatives.
    The reason it came to my attention is because the local newspaper coverage of the stimulus is and was much more positive than the national theme that developed. The local newspaper looked at the local stimulus projects, and headlined them. The national theme was “massive fail”.
    That simply isn’t true. It isn’t justified by what happened.
    There shouldn’t be this huge disconnect between national and local news. If there is, I always suspect the national meme is pundit-driven. I think it was, in the case of the stimulus. I feel as if liberals got snookered by buying into it. It also makes me wonder how plugged in they are at the local level. The projects are everywhere. Are they unaware of them? Why?

  99. 99
    Soldat says:

    Color me infinitely unsurprised by Clemons’s hit-piece. This is a guy who openly admitted that there needed to be an assault on the Admin to ‘save’ it.

    My sense is that most of the major pillars of progressive work in the US — on the foreign policy and domestic fronts are really distressed by President Obama’s policy and personnel choices.

    I’m getting close to where Krugman is and think it may be nearing the time to “bust Obama’s brand” as one liberal Hollywood actor friend of mind recently said.

    If Obama sees his “brand” in real trouble, he may correct things just in time by dumping Rahm Emanuel, Lawrence Summers and some others, confessing his decisionmaking sins to those who supported him, and inspire some confidence in the actions of changing course.

    What we’re currently witnessing is basically the long-heralded “Revolt of the Left.” Its aim: to so thoroughly knock-down the Administration that Obama will have no choice but to plead with the Left for support; many in ‘progressive’ circles believe this will lead to a much more left-wing policy. Aravosis started pushing this idea back in the spring, and it’s increasingly being supported in most major bloggy circles.

    In truth, it’s psychotic, assumes Obama actually doesn’t have any principles, and would ensure a Republican victory in November (it might happen anyway, but this would guarantee it). But beyond that, it basically involves people on the Left thinking they only have a say in policy if they have a knife at the throat of the Admin. Many Dems think this is a good thing and will encourage Dems to turn to the left – FALSE. EVERY major actor in DC ASIDE from the WH sees the problem right now as being the loss of independents, and a major loss won’t correct that. You can run all the polls you want, most people in Congress (especially swing votes) are hard-wired to think that the problem must be in the center.

    The blogs get it wrong too, of course, what’s going on is a triple threat electorally – angry conservatives, confused and frustrated independents, and depressed liberals. A huge cause of all that is the economy, but bloggers have become what they have beheld re the media and decided that Americans follow the ins and outs of the excise tax as much as they do.

    BTD did hit on one very real point though – several sectors of the Left feel ignored by this White House. This isn’t surprising – as far back as 2007, the Obama campaign always remained more at arms-length than its primary competition, something that caused significant consternation with numerous major bloggers/editorialists (Krugman, Jerome Armstrong, Jane Hamsher, BTD himself). Many people on the Left see the trust some people have in Obama as a primary obstacle to progressive policies, since they think that only force and attacks influence policy. The problem with this strategy is borne out by the last year – spend all your time saying Obama is a traitor/empty suit/idiot/hack/liar/unprincipled for not fighting Prop. 8/killing the bailouts/forcing Ben Nelson to back a public option/etc etc, and the end result is not that the policy turns left, but people on the left start hating the policy too. The result? On the current fight, a media narrative that people hate health care b/c its a government takeover, not because its too conservative; the same can be said of the stimulus though. It’s nice for some people tp admit that they won’t support something if they don’t get all or the vast majority of their boxes checked.

    Seeing the behavior of some Progressives over the last year has made me EVER defend the blogs – they are fundamentally incapable of supporting a team when they’re not the head. That ok, that’s how the entire party is, but I expected better from the blogs. If health care dies, the blogs won’t have killed it, but I’ll never trust them as being the reality-based community again – they’re just as easily manipulated and manipulative. The entire HCR fight, with the lies told about a) the PO’s importance, b) the worthlessness of ending pre-existing conditions, and c) the anti-mandate fight (hilarious since I remember when people were only attacking Obama for not supporting universal hcr b/c his primary campaign didn’t have mandates), and d) the fanciful idea that b/c a majority of people support the PO nationwide Ben Nelson HAS to support it.

    Nietzsche was right, politics is a will to power. Instead of undertaking the long game of being annoyed at not getting what the want and redoubling their efforts, the blogs/left have decided to declare war on the Admin. Maybe it leads to Progressive Power in a generation, but I doubt it. The New Left tried this strategy in the 70’s – shank anyone who isn’t a true-believer about X, Y, and Z, and it had great success at moving the needle to the left for the country as a whole.

    And as I type this, Steve Clemons is on MSNBC to continue the assault on the Four Horsemen of the Oval Office.

    This has been a frustrating year, but the smallness, nastiness, and victimization of people online that I once respected has been one of the most disappointing. Thank god for Balloon Juice.

  100. 100
    General Winfield Stuck says:


    Well, teevee is a much more powerful and influential media so it drives memes much faster and further. But my reading left side blogs the past year, there is not much difference than the teevee dems pushing stim fail, only with less national exposure.

  101. 101
    Ash Can says:

    @Chad N Freude: Do you believe the nerve of those dicks? As the kids say nowadays, as if. Obama’s not just giving these guys the rope, he’s tying the noose and draping the other end over the tree branch for them. And just watch, they’ll still be dumb enough to hang themselves with it on the 25th. They can’t help it. The Q&A with the GOP congressdorks showed that they really are stupid enough to believe their own bullshit. Granted, they (presumably) have a better idea of what’s coming this time around, and I don’t expect this “summit meeting” to be quite the shooting gallery the Q&A was. Nevertheless, I’m betting that even though these morons are being given a running start, they still won’t be able to look like they have any idea in fuck-all what they’re doing when the cameras roll.

  102. 102
    Malron says:

    @El Cid: I should amend my statement to say “I really love to wake up in the morning and listen to progressives on the radio lamenting the “death of health care reform”

    Its still kinda early in the day.

  103. 103
    El Cid says:

    @Malron: Oh — I avoid radio in the morning. I’ll dip my toe into Washington Journal on C-Span, but it’s not ’til much later in the day after coffee and bitterness kick in that I’ll tune into presumably serious commentary.

  104. 104
    John Cole says:

    Steve Clemons is a first class, self-aggrandizing blowhard who should be ignored on a 24 hour basis. He is the dipshit who caused a several day outrage because Obama’s speech to the HRC (that Clemons and gay advocates panned as “just words”) was not up on the WH website fast enough. He’s THAT guy.

    He is a first rate concern troll, and another one of the beltway “activist” self-promoters that we have seen too much of lately. Color me unimpressed.

  105. 105
    John Cole says:

    @John Quixote: He was on MSNBC this morning.

  106. 106
    John Cole says:


    The problem with Rahm is not that he is mean, it is that he is not very good at his job – which is to help the President enact the agenda of his choosing.


    But to Republicans who joke Obama has done nothing, and to Obama’s liberal critics who vent about the same, a study done by Congressional Quarterly suggests they are both wrong. CQ rates Obama higher than any president in the last five decades in working his will on Capitol Hill, surpassing even the fabled Lyndon Johnson. Obama’s success rate in the House and Senate on votes where he staked out a clear position was 96.7 percent, beating previous record-holder Johnson’s 93 percent in 1965.

    This kind of statistical finding begs for more analysis. If Obama is doing so great, why does it feel like Democrats are staring into the abyss? If the congressional elections were held today, the results would not be pretty for the party in power. “In a democracy, what matters is how the people respond to what you’ve done, it’s not the legislative body count,” says William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “If the administration has a good story to tell, it hasn’t told that story very well.”

    Considering the herd of cats in the Democratic party, the monolithic no vote, and a media that loves a narrative of teabagging and conflict and bullshit gotcha politics (HOW MANY WOMEN PLAYED HOOPS WITH OBAMA TODAY!), I would say Obama is doing quite well.

  107. 107
    John Cole says:

    @Egilsson: Another AEI flunkie.

  108. 108
    John Cole says:

    @BTD: I think Supermax is worse than Gitmo for those who are going to be held indefinitely. That is obscene and this administration should be beaten about the head and neck for that.

  109. 109
    batgirl says:

    WTF? From the FT article:

    The Democrats lost the seat to a candidate, Scott Brown, who promised voters he would be the “41st [Republican] vote” in the Senate – the one that would tip the balance against healthcare. Subsequent polling bears out the view that a decisive number of Democrats switched their votes with precisely that motivation in mind.

    If there was polling that MA voted for Brown to kill healthcare, I must have missed it. This seems like a strange reading the MA Senate election.

  110. 110
    batgirl says:

    Okay, whenever someone reports this I know they have no fucking clue and I should probably discard much of what they say. This all sounds like insider beltway bullshit.

    From the FT:

    Mr Emanuel has hinted that he might not stay in the job very long and is thought to have an eye on running for mayor of Chicago.

    I’m in Chicago. Emanuel is not going to run against Daley.

  111. 111
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Meh. If you only “ask” for that which is easy to pass, you can get a 100% rate.

    I can not place much stock in a study that says Obama was more effective legislatively than FDR and LBJ.

  112. 112
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Sort of my point. Closing Gitmo is – yes, a symbol, not meaningful policy.

    Process for giving detainees their day on court, either under the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions, is the big deal imo.

  113. 113
    Brian J says:


    Wait, which former Clintonite is lobbying for its defeat?

  114. 114
    eemom says:


    I haven’t read any of this stuff and don’t intend to, but I just want to note that I am a total fan of your comment.

    I can stealz “/rant not even close to over”?

  115. 115
    Quiddity says:


    Richard Parker (founder of Mother Jones, BTW) was in Mass the week of the election and reported that many Democrats were unhappy with Romney-care and viewed the current HCR legislation in a similar light. (He had a long interview with Ian Masters on January 24 that’s well worth listening to. link, then pulldown on menu of Available Shows to Background Briefing)

    The problem? AFFORDABILITY. That’s what happens when you have mandates but no price control. You do have “cost control” (aka “payment control”) by having the expenses limited, in part, by the individuals’ ability to pay. That’s the current Senate bill, the one Jonathan Gruber supports, and a topic that when raised here, is considered beyond the pale.

  116. 116
    nadezhda says:

    Steve Clemons is the Sally Quinn of the DC wonk set. So what’s important to look at isn’t the content of the high school gossip-mongering. It’s the fact that a destructive meme is starting to take hold in one corner of the Village. It needs to be stomped on fast, ’cause it’s catnip for the cable shows who always prefer spending hours dissecting unsubstantiated rumor and gossiping about personalities to actually discussing policies and, ‘ya know, like, news.

    Unfortunately, Rahm isn’t the easiest sort of guy to defend against this sort of scuttlebutt — either on grounds of his personality or his trackrecord over the past year.

  117. 117
    Dr. Morpheus says:


    Meh. If you only “ask” for that which is easy to pass, you can get a 100% rate.
    I can not place much stock in a study that says Obama was more effective legislatively than FDR and LBJ.

    So, in other words, you admit that you don’t trust any study that doesn’t validate you’re preconceptions as to what is doable and what is not.

    I guess that makes you a “nobot”.

  118. 118
    Midnight Marauder says:


    Full disclosure, Steve is a friend of mine (I daresay he probably is a friend of Cole’s too.) And yet, I have been able to disagree with Steve on a lot of things without resorting to calling him names.

    @John Cole:

    Steve Clemons is a first class, self-aggrandizing blowhard who should be ignored on a 24 hour basis. He is the dipshit who caused a several day outrage because Obama’s speech to the HRC (that Clemons and gay advocates panned as “just words”) was not up on the WH website fast enough. He’s THAT guy.
    He is a first rate concern troll, and another one of the beltway “activist” self-promoters that we have seen too much of lately. Color me unimpressed.

    You are adorable.

  119. 119
    MNPundit says:

    Cole is wrong about Steve in several areas.

  120. 120
    Midnight Marauder says:


    Cole is wrong about Steve in several areas.

    Good think you cleared all that up with your eloquent, detailed rebuttal.

  121. 121

    DougJ — What did you find so annoying and ridiculous about the piece to generate the level of frenzy that seems to be at play here?

    The die-hard, blowhard, concern-trolling (what is concern-trolling by the way?) would like to know.

    It’s clear that I offered a more establishment, insider-ish Team Be list for the White House to consider listening to. I think that whether the names I suggested suck or not – a White House that is failing on most of its key priorities would be wise to listen to some other folks.

    Interesting commentary from the rest — but what I really don’t understand is that so may clearly intelligent people here want to swing into ad hominem, character assassination rather than seriously discuss whether my point and Ed Luce’s review had any merit. If not, why not?

    Or is this all about the fun of collective hyperventilation?

    all best,

    Steve Clemons

  122. 122

    @John Quixote: It has not yet — but I am on those shows pretty regularly. But what is the bigger point? that the story is somehow designed to get me on the shows? I’m on the shows frequently when I have written nothing at all. Best, Steve Clemons

  123. 123

    @John Quixote: I get that you don’t like the names I have suggested. They are mostly, but not entirely, an insider type crowd. But would be good for you to put your own proposed Team B out there, if you like the concept, and see whether it would pass muster with other posters here. best, steve clemons

  124. 124

    @natthedem: yes, it’s a bad habit….I agree and will one day improve that part of my complicated personality. best, steve clemons

  125. 125
    DougJ says:


    I read it yesterday and made fun of it.

  126. 126

    @kay: read the pieces and you should be able to answer the question yourself. email me if you can’t access the original Financial Times article, which I would be happy to send you.

    all best, steve

  127. 127
  128. 128

    @BTD: thanks, yes, whoever BTD is — nice to know that civil debate is possible with you and hopefully others here. I’m happy to debate or discuss any part of the article and take the critiques seriously. best, SCC

  129. 129

    @Mary: I don’t use spray-on hair. I have thinning hair, but nothing sprayed on. Happy to show you any time. I signed to PNAC letters (regrettably in retrospect) that had to do with Hong Kong democracy issues and which the then Solicitor General of Hong Kong – completely supportive of the reuinification with China — nonetheless thought would be useful to raising the prospect of maintaining attention for Hong Kong’s basic law. best – and am telling the truth on the sprayed hair….where in the world did you get that idea?? best, steve clemons

  130. 130

    @gil mann: I have written more than 5000 articles and posts — but never yet a book. I could have a book deal whenever I want and have had many articles more impactful than this one, particularly in my efforts to block a Senate vote on John Bolton’s confirmation by Bush to the United Nations. I wrote the article because I believe the issues to be important — full stop. If you think that there are great benefits for a centrist/progressive insider-ish guy to highlight problems in the White House, then you are not analyzing this appropriately. The reason I think more folks have not surfaced the kind of thing Ed Luce did is that there are access consequences — i.e. negative consequences. But some of you think that there is somehow some golden parachute by wrestling with the most powerful people in DC. It does lead to some media coverage — but that’s not the issue. What I feel is important is sending a signal to Obama that he can change course by changing some of his personnel and policy decisions.

  131. 131

    @Foxhunter: Thanks FoxHunter….my self-promoting often is more than my partner at home can take — so fully understand. I try to promote ideas, but the blog is my personal hobby — and I do travel a lot and like exchanging with folks about that stuff. I realize it’s not for everyone. But your note is reasonable and appreciated.

  132. 132

    @John: John, I have a lot of other stuff that will probably infuriate you then. I think you are a bit over the top here. And tool for whom?

  133. 133

    @John: Josh Marshall launched my blog, The Washington Note, and is one of my closest friends. Can you write a sentence without an ad hominem, irrational attack? Seriously, if you have been reading Marshall for a long time, then you’ll note that his centrist/progressive sensibilities are pretty close to my own…though there are differences. I’d be happy to engage you if you can lay off the hyperventilation. best, steve clemons

  134. 134

    @John Cole: John, you are a major guy — are you really calling me a “dipshit”? You never once contacted me or asked me why I raised the stink about the delayed White House release of Obama’s Human Rights Campaign speech. I know that you had an exchange with Andrew Sullivan about this — but to my knowledge you never contacted me. I would be happy to give you the back story privately on that — and I would tell you that Kerry Eleveld of The Advocate and other journalists there that night were just as angry about the situation — one I was warned by someone in the White House would happen as they did not want to send that speech to producers/editors early enough to affect the Sunday morning political shows.

    But to say that I should be ignored 24 hours a day is slightly irresponsible. What’s the deal with this. You are better than that.

  135. 135
    DougJ says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    Steve, thanks for dropping by. I answer this question in an update.

  136. 136
    John Cole says:

    @Steve Clemons: Steve- I don’t want to play the same games as everyone else does. Either come forward with the story for everyone as to who, what, and why intentionally delayed the release of the speech, or stop making the assertion. I am so tired of these private games in which people the people with access make statements and we are supposed to just believe them. I’ve seen the collective freak-outs in the gay rights advocacy groups this year, so right now any wild assertions like this are just suspect.

    Additionally, I want no part in the current war against the HRC- I’d rather advance the ball than join in the battle between the HRC and the internet gay advocacy groups, ,much like I want no part in the food fight between the Deaniacs and the DNC/DLC (and you can not convince me that the self-flagellation of the past few months on the left as well as all the attacks on Rahm are not in part a continuation of the Darcy Burner/Ned Lamont campaigns and the old battles we are all so sick of).

    Finally, I agree- dipshit was harsh and unfair and I apologize, but I am just at my wits end with unsourced speculation, especially from people who should know better. I’ve read you for years, I’ve seen you be reasonable in some settings (including, most recently, in the HBO documentary), but I am just not buying the story until I see it in public. And then I will join with you in attacking the WH communication operation.

  137. 137
    John Cole says:

    Jesus, my typing sucks with one arm.

  138. 138

    @DougJ: Thanks. Look forward to it. You have passionate posters here, who are smart. And perhaps I am just a hack and name-dropper, but let’s sort it out. Anyway, cool blog — I have been following it since John Cole had his conversion and since he called me a “crazy person”. I sort of enjoyed that because most of my friends wish I’d do something crazier than I generally do.

    Anyway — nice to meet up here. Happy to debate, even ferociously.

    best, steve

  139. 139
    DougJ says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    Well, we certainly agree about the posters here!

    The update is up.

  140. 140
    licensed to kill time says:

    @John Cole: Hell, I’m impressed. Nary a typo that I can see.

  141. 141
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @John Cole: Maybe typing with yer toes on two good feet will work better, assuming they have been properly clipped.

    And Clemons, he calls everybody dipshit at some point. It’s a feature, not a bug.

  142. 142

    @John Cole: @John Cole: That is totally fair, and I appreciate that you don’t play games like others do (and which I do play now and then admittedly so that I can still get access to some of the DC circles I like writing about — I confess!)

    The back story on the Human Rights Campaign speech goes like this. First of all, folks should know that I’m gay — but my profile has not been built up in the gay rights arena though I have had some well-traveled, high profile pieces now and then on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — particularly a post two years ago called “When Intolerance Kills Christmas” about a close friend in the military who came out to his family and had a rough time — and who two years later went to the HRC dinner to see Obama and wanted to wear his mess dress uniform (a military tux basically). That post is up on Huffington Post as well and is called “When Intolerance Kills Christmas II” or something close to that.

    So, I put on my Facebook profile that I was going to attend the Human Rights Campaign dinner that had not only President Obama attending — but also the parents of Matthew Shepard. I went as media as tickets were sold out.

    But after I put the post up on Friday (the dinner was Saturday), I received a phone call from a White House friend who works at the National Security Council and the person basically said “Steve, wait and see — they are going to try to keep the speech from the media in written form until after it’s too late for the Sunday shows.”

    I found this very hard to believe because the speech was going to air live both on CNN and C-Span. So, the warning made no sense to me.

    I arrived at the DC Convention Center at about 5:30 pm (or thereabouts), got my media pass — and quickly asked if we would be receiving a copy of the speech from them as it had not been emailed out yet. Major speeches by the President (and one on gay rights — that was airing live on CNN constitutes a major speech) are usually sent BEFORE he gives them with the annotation “speech as prepared for delivery”. After the speech, we get an update from the White House titled “speech as given”.

    Well, as we got closer to the event, none of the White House press — including Kerry Eleveld of The Advocate — had received the pre-given speech by email. So, standard operating procedure was off it seemed.

    I asked Brian Bond, the Deputy head of outreach at the White House if we’d get the speech and was assured we would get it. I also asked John Berry, a good friend who is head of Office of Personnel Management, if he had seen the speech — and he had….so I knew it was kicking around.

    Because we had been told we’d get the speech, some of us in the media didn’t record or scribble as much as we should have — but by 9 pm it had not come to us, not by 10 pm…and then we just knew we weren’t going to get it.

    I had called White House media affairs at 6 pm and then at 9:15 pm to make sure they emailed me the speech as I wanted to use it….nothing.

    Kerry Eleveld was chomping at the bit as well on this.

    Then by 9:30 the next morning (approx), we still had not received it….and so as John points out, I wrote a post making a stink about it — wondering what was going on, in part because of the warning I had had on Saturday from a friend in the White House — but also because none of the promises had been kept that many of us had received from several White House managers.

    I sent my email out to a number of key columnists who I know were interested in the subject, EJ Dionne was one — and they wanted to see what was happening. To make a long story short if my memory serves me correctly – it wasn’t until Ben Smith of Politico began making inquiries that the White House turned it around, getting him a copy of the speech Sunday morning (with a time stamp that it had been prepared for distribution at 9:06 pm the night before — but never sent) that he then sent to me. I posted the speech, and then the White House sent out the speech to everyone else.

    To be fair to the White House Media team on this, I received several very good explanatory emails from Tommy Vietor — and I can’t go into them, but basically he explained why the machine did not work correctly and said that the speech should have gone out the night before. There was a personnel glitch that I understood and accepted the explanation — despite the very apparent fact that there may still have been some effort by the White House to prevent the gay/DADT topic from coming up on the Sunday morning political shows.

    As it turned out, after Obama’s major speech that night, only one of the talk shows on Sunday made any mention of the issue and that was in a minor question to Senator Carl Levin.

    So, yes, I was skeptical — and I did go after this pretty radically at the time because there were so many stages in the buildup to the speech where other media and I had been promised something that we did not get.

    About your other point about the Human Rights Campaign though — I support the HRC and what it does, appreciate Joe Solomonese’s work — and I was thrilled Obama was there. I think that was historic on many levels — and a potential start to new bridgebuilding that had to take place between the gay community and the Obama administration. I am old friends with (see there is that name dropping problem again!!) with now US Ambassador to NZ David Huebner who Obama pointed to that night — and was thrilled to be there.

    So bottom line on all this is that I’m not a reactionary anti-White House type and I am not on any particular side in how best to move the administration forward on gay rights. I consider myself supportive of Brian Bond, John Berry, and Obama’s overall stance on gay rights — but I am impatient for wanting action.

    Hope that helps explain. Sorry for some of the back detail on the buildup to the speech — but to understand why I might have seemed like a crazy person, I think it’s important to understand that all of the standard operating procedures for this kind of media management were not in play and the White House team, good as it is, was not following through in the way that they had assured us at several steps they would.

    Anyway…hope this helps explain.

    No worries about the Dipshit comment — as sometimes it fits. But I think I only deserve to be ignored for 8 out of the 24 hours a day.

    best, Steve Clemons

  143. 143
    BTD says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    I’m Armando, Steve – Big Tent Democrat from Talk Left.

  144. 144

    @BTD: Greetings Armando – and yes, you have taken me on pretty squarely in the past and I benefited. happy 2010 belatedly.

  145. 145

    @DougJ: I respect that we see Tom Daschle differently, and I get how angry many are about the lobbying/advocacy work he does/did on health care. I know the Tom Daschle of the 1990s in the Senate and the Tom Daschle who walked right through a huge crowd on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Denver to give me a very public hug after hearing from a mutual friend that my partner and I had just been married on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall. I do get the issues that others have about Daschle….but the fact remains that Obama’s political genius is being one of the best M&A guys in politics – morphing major pieces of the Daley machine into the Daschle machine into the Kennedy machine and into the Edwards machine. They are still trying to meld the Clinton franchise in, but that’s been difficult.

    I admire Obama on many levels — and the ones I critique in my piece, including Rahm frankly — who I am thrilled hangs out with David Geffen more than Rick Warren — but you and I probably have to agree to disagree on Daschle overall, though I get where you and many others are coming from.

    Thanks for hearing me out though.

  146. 146
    Mary says:

    @Steve Clemons: I’m sorry about the hair thing, Steve, I was wrong to be so catty, and I’m glad you regret signing on with the PNACers. That hit on Valerie Jarrett was the lowest of blows, by the way. Do you think GOP-ginned-up Islamophobia and advance warning that her appearance might be used against her may have had anything to do with her minimal showing at the Zogby event?

    And, John Cole, we won’t think you’re a sleazy self-promoter if you get yourself a booking agent and make some appearances to counter the Jane Hamshers and the Arianna Huffingtons of the left. What are you, camera shy? Maybe you could send Tunch.

  147. 147

    […] about Steve Clemons, and Steve has come to defend himself. All’s good, he was right, I was rude and hasty and unfair. In other words, it is […]

  148. 148
    AxelFoley says:


    This was my thought as well: more concern trolling about Obama being weak and controlled by Chicago machine politics—those are rightwing talking points; no one on the left should even think of adopting them.


    And these left-wing muthafuckas wonder why they lose. Fuckin’ cannibals, the whole lot of them.

  149. 149

    @Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Another Deficit of Trust: sweet…but happy to debate more. this is a great site, and people don’t spend as much time varnishing things as much as I feel I need to do. So perhaps I can get rougher and less careful — but also show you that I’m less of “a tool” than you may have thought. dude…you’re a tool. lol. learned a lot today. thanks.

  150. 150
    General Winfield Stuck says:


    What are you, camera shy?

    Cole is much to crude for prime time. And I mean that in a good way. Besides, can you imagine Cole stuck in a Green Room with Pat Buchanan, or (cough) Sarah Serendipity. The flies on the wall would go belly from fright.

  151. 151

    @Mary: Mary, one of these days maybe I’ll get hair plugs. lol. I was literally highlighted once (reluctantly and without permission) on an episode of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show on a grouping of the ten worst “hair guys” on C-Span. No kidding. At least I was 10th out of 10. I think my hair looks decent, even if thin…but hey, what can you do.

    On Valerie Jarrett, no low blow meant — and I tried to soften it somehow in the piece. Maybe I wasn’t convincing. I’m very, very glad that she even went to the Arab American Institute dinner. That was great. But the reporting about Milano right after is true — because I was there…and that just sat poorly with a lot of the hard-working Arab Americans who helped to get Obama elected (and with me at the time).

    Anyway, I get your point. I didn’t know that she was on the China trip until Luce’s piece…and I think that the Obama inner team should not cut itself off from feedback that there is an impression that the people who are not substance-providers on a key trip like Obama’s November 2009 excursion out to make some room for those with key policy positions and substance.

    And I think she owes the Arab American Institute a full speech at a dinner. :)

    best, steve

  152. 152
    boomshanka says:

    John, you are a major guy

    Now that’s funny.

  153. 153

    @boomshanka: but he is — I’m not bothered or moved or irritated by minor guys. Please tell me he is a major guy.

  154. 154
    Mary says:

    @Steve Clemons: I’ll give you this. You have the height. You can always get the hair some other way. The height, not so much.

    I hope the hit on Jarrett was worth it to you. I expect you’ll come to regret it.

  155. 155

    @Mary: Could be. She’s an enormously talented person, and she could re-earn my trust and support by rejiggering how things are done in the White House…but we’ll see. I’m not one of her concerns me thinks. :)

  156. 156
    Steve says:

    I don’t follow Steve’s chain of logic with respect to the HRC thing. Let’s recap, he gets advance warning from a friend that “they” are going to intentionally delay distribution of the written text of the speech. Then, in what seems to be a highly unusual occurrence for any televised speech, no one gets a copy of the text until the following morning. Maybe this isn’t the end of the world either way, but if it didn’t happen on purpose, that advance warning from a friend looks like a pretty goshdarned big coincidence.

    But then Steve gets a few emails from his pal Tommy Vietor saying it was all a completely innocent mistake and so Steve comes to the conclusion that okay, it was just a mistake after all. I think this is the kind of thing that makes us weary of all the insidery BS… Vietor is telling you an obvious white lie, maybe he’s your friend so you don’t want to call him any names, but do you really have to believe whatever crap he tells you? Obviously your friend at the NSC did not have advance knowledge that an innocent mistake was about to take place.

    For those of us on the outside, trying to figure out what’s happening inside Washington is a constant battle between this guy’s friends and that guy’s friends. And I’m sure we all have great taste in friends, but some of our friends are misinformed from time to time and some of our friends are spinning from time to time. When their stories are in conflict, they can’t all be right! It sure does get exhausting trying to keep up with all the self-contradictory yet unimpeachable info, from way out here.

  157. 157
    Mary says:

    @Steve Clemons: It’s not Jarrett you need to worry about so much as it is your indiscretion. It’s the fact that you are trafficking in such gossip for such arguably self-aggrandizing purposes that may come back to bite you.

  158. 158
    celticdragonchick says:

    Nice to see you here, Steve. I am a fan of your blog.

    (Changing the subject) I remember that you are a BSG fan. Have you been following Caprica? :)

  159. 159
    serge says:

    This whole exchange is cracking me up…in a good way. I’m a big fan of John’s and I’ve been reading The Washington Note since its founding. These are two mensches…the country’s a better place for them.

    I just wish I didn’t always feel so inferior to the other commenters on Mr Clemons’ site. Tiens, that’s just me…

  160. 160

    @Steve: Steve, the Vietor communications came to me after the speech was finally distributed. Sorry to confuse on that point. I had already revved up my machine to put pressure to get the speech distributed…..sorry about the confusion. best, steve clemons

  161. 161

    @Steve: Steve, I should also add that while I accept what Vietor said about “why” the glitch happened, I am not sure at all that there was not a more substantial effort to just bottle the speech and not push “send” on the global media list from the White House. The fact that this was not a speech sent in advance was testament to what the WH insider warned me of early that Saturday. best, steve

  162. 162

    @celticdragonchick: I am under pressure from my significant other to start into Caprica but haven’t had the time yet as I’ve been at Cafe Milano too much. (joke….well, maybe not)

  163. 163

    @serge: Serge, I wish you would take over and dominate my comment list….we need new voices and personalities. But this is John et al’s blog and I’ve found this a really fascinating back and forth…..but I know lots of folks here will still want my head, and if not today — then perhaps tomorrow.

  164. 164
    serge says:

    @Steve Clemons: Pas moi.

  165. 165
    The Populist says:


    Me too. I’ve been reading Steve’s blog as long as I’ve been reading this one (a while now).

    Steve has a lot of good foreign policy analysis on his blog and I have always appreciated his take on that area.

    I don’t always agree 100% with his view on some things, but he’s somebody I see as an ally to the cause (to keep rightwing lunacy in check with facts).

  166. 166
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    Well, I’m sure that Cafe Milano has its charms… :)

    My spouse is annoyed that she misses it on Fridays since she works late. I have to shut up until it is available at SciFi the following week. Check it out when you can.


    AnneMarie D.

  167. 167
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Well, the one thing I would say about the quote you cited, is that he’s trying to get across the tone of what Rahm was saying. You can take the same words and the way you say them will communicate very different things. When he talks about the hubris and meanness, he’s trying to communicate the tone that came out of the comment, not the comment itself.

    I can say “John Cole is a great guy” and if I twist my tone just right, it will come out as completely contemptuous. My read of that is that he’s trying to get that tone across about how Rahm said what he said.

    Now, Steve, I could be wrong and I see you’re yakking, so tell me if that’s the case.


  168. 168
    geena says:

    Why someone as childish as Clemons gets taken seriously is beyond me. The guy needs to grow up and stop letting his petty squabbles drive his political analysis.

  169. 169
    John says:

    @Steve Clemons:

    My original posts were certainly hyperbolically insulting. That being said, I see nothing in your original post but name-dropping, question-begging, and concern-trolling. And I see the name-dropping continues in your response to me, where you can’t help but mention that you are great personal friends with Josh Marshall.

    So, anyway, to be more specific, here’s what irks me about your post. Firstly, you start by assuming something not clearly in evidence. “We know,” you say, “that Obama’s presidency so far has been a horrific failure, and now Luce explains to us why.” Well, I don’t think this assumption is based on much of anything. If health care passes this year, as it still very well may, then Obama’s first two years will have been pretty hugely successful, I think. (If health care doesn’t pass…well, we can talk about that if it happens, but I’d be more inclined to accept your premise then).

    Beyond that, to the extent that Obama hasn’t gotten everything he wants, it makes little sense to blame this on his Chicago advisers. In terms of Obama’s domestic legislative agenda, the obvious obstacles are the lock-step Republican opposition and the difficulty in corraling the votes of “moderate” Democrats in the Senate like Lieberman and Ben Nelson. Nothing in Luce’s article, much less in your gloss of it, even acknowledges it. Nor does it acknowledge the even more basic problem of the terrible economy, which was not Obama’s doing.

    The specific claims in Luce’s article are pretty much all anonymous sour grapes. They all read like whining by people who feel like they haven’t been consulted as much as they’d like to be. If you change the names around, I’m sure most of them could apply to virtually every administration ever. People have been complaining since at least Andrew Jackson’s day that the president has an inner circle of advisers who he listens to while ignoring his formal cabinet. There’s just about nothing in Luce’s “revelations” that really feels like it does much of anything to explain events in this country over the last year.

    None of this is to say that Obama’s been perfect. He certainly hasn’t been (what president could be?), and there’s specific areas where I certainly feel disappointed – he’s not been great on civil liberties stuff; I don’t feel like he’s pushing hard enough on health care right now; the decision to let Max Baucus spend six months doing nothing was awful. Some of this, I’m sure, can certainly be put on Emanuel, Axelrod, Jarrett, and Gibbs. But, really, in the larger scheme of things all of it is pretty minor compared to the much larger problems of “terrible economy,” “obstructionist Republicans,” and “asshole centrist Democrats,” none of which any of those four have any real control over.

    Just beyond that, the tone of your piece was infuriating – all the name dropping; the lengthy introduction about why other outlets are afraid to run with this awesome story; the ridiculous suggestions for who Obama should really listen to, the unfair characterizations of innocuous remarks that Doug highlights in his update. We basically have a totally useless inside baseball sour grapes article whining about Rahm Emanuel being reported about breathlessly as the explanation for Obama’s “failure” by someone who proudly proclaims being buddies with Mike Allen. I think it’s hard not to read that as concern trolling.

  170. 170
    Mahakali Overdrive says:

    @ John, I’m strongly inclined to agree with your last comment, having read the article, two commentaries on it (this one and one on another site), and all of the subsequent comments. The presumption that the argument rests on is that the Obama Presidency HAS been a failure already. That’s absurd, one year into that Presidency, and that so many people simply accepted that and then delved into the proof of this turgid thesis without a second consideration of this claim is really questionable in my mind.

    To me that says “(Democratic) readers are failing,” more than anything.

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