Lacking the Basic Self-Awareness of a Slug

I’m loathe to say this, but there is a generally decent piece by Halperin on the Obama administration in Time. I say generally, because it does contain some of the awful both sides nonsense:

Before the jabberers on the right (What about the huge debt, the broken tax pledge, the paucity of overseas accomplishments?), the yammerers on the left (Guantánamo hasn’t been closed, gays aren’t serving openly in the military, and too many policies cater to business interests) and the chides in the media (POTUS and party poll numbers are down, and Washington is more partisan than ever), look at the two key metrics that underscore Obama’s accomplishments.

And then there is this jawdropper:

Unlike Bill Clinton, especially early in his presidency, Obama has largely maintained control of his public image, preserved the majesty of the office (a job that has become harder than ever because of the toxic freak-show nature of our politico-media culture) and maintained good relations, in public and private, with the armed services brass, the intelligence community and law enforcement.

Halperin just spent the better part of the last year cashing in on a book that was nothing but unsourced rumors, gossip, and anonymous insider accusations, dressed up as “deep background reporting.” In fact, when I think of the “toxic freak show nature of our politico-media culture,” Morton Halperin’s son is the first person I think of- right in front of Howard Kurtz and almost all of the Washington Post op-ed contributors.

And for the record, the Lewinsky scandal, the thing that tarnished Clinton’s “public image,” didn’t happen early on, it happened halfway through his second term. And with his tarnished public image, Clinton left office with a 66% approval rating. Halperin just has to get that one last dig in at the Clenis, and can’t be bothered to get the basic facts right. “Toxic freak show nature,” indeed.

82 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Zoogz says:

    The best part is that the media can have it both ways. There is both a market for one-upsmanship as well as a market for those who decry such outlandish tactics.

    Besides, in this atmosphere, no one is held accountable… you can play both sides of the street, there are no buses to flatten you like a pancake.

  3. 3
    Lolis says:

    It is sad when people on our side won’t acknowledge the many accomplishments of the Obama administration. Plus, they try to make people who are proud of our president feel like we are idiots or not truly progressive.

  4. 4
    neill says:

    even a blind slug slimes over the occasional acorn…

  5. 5
    SGEW says:

    He knows, John. He knows. And he’s reveling in it.

    The line that made you jaw drop was a tell.

  6. 6
    Original Lee says:

    This awesomeness covers pretty much what I want to say on this and related financial topics today. That will be all.

  7. 7
    Pasquinade says:

    Poll: Clinton’s approval rating up in wake of impeachment

    In the wake of the House of Representatives’ approval of two articles of impeachment, Bill Clinton’s approval rating has jumped 10 points to 73 percent, the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows.

    That’s not only an all-time high for Clinton, it also beats the highest approval rating President Ronald Reagan ever had.

    At the same time, the number of Americans with an unfavorable view of the Republican Party has jumped 10 points; less than a third of the country now has a favorable view of the GOP.

    http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS.....ment.poll/

  8. 8
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    But, you know, the left is doing exactly what he said, here’s some evidence.

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    Combine this with his flat rejection of the Republican lies about the financial bill, it seems like a turn away from wingerism. Well, WTF, I’m for it. Halperin has caused me considerable teeth-grinding because he seemed capable of better– unlike, e.g., mistah Kurtz. It’s also possible that he’s basically sensing a change in the wind and reacting to that, which is also OK by me.

  10. 10
    cleek says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    some people want massive transformation, and they want it now. those people will always be disappointed.

  11. 11
    Brachiator says:

    Before the jabberers on the right (What about the huge debt, the broken tax pledge, the paucity of overseas accomplishments?)

    Huh, WTF? Obama largely kept his promise about taxes for the first part of his term, and the middle class has seen on average greater refunds and some new business and education credits which may prove out in the long run in helping the economy. And paucity of overseas accomplishments? This is a mixed bag, but some of the recent agreements with respect to nuclear weapons are as impressive as anything that Saint Ronnie Reagan accomplished, and recent international polls show that Obama has done much to accomplish his goal of restoring America’s image abroad, which is essential background to anything else.

  12. 12
    jwb says:

    @MattF: I suppose it’s possible that the Washington CW is finally asking itself whether Drudge links are worth living in a country overrun by crazy. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

  13. 13
    NickM says:

    The basic self-awareness of a slug: “I slime, therefore I am.”

  14. 14
    fourlegsgood says:

    It probably is killing Halperin to admit that a) Obama isn’t a failure and b) that the GOP really has gone bat-shit insane and shows absolutely no sign of coming to their senses.

    So I’m gonna cut him a little slack. But only a nano amount.

  15. 15
    Redshirt says:

    He did it all for the ratings – who doesn’t?

    Ratings = profits; profits = the reason we all exist on this planet.

    There’s little else to add to the calculation.

  16. 16
    David in NY says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    the left is doing exactly what he said

    The equivalence of what elected and high Republican party officials say, which actually does constitute the view of “the right,” with views of “the left,” for which the only evidence cited includes the statements of a single diarist on GOS and his 75 or so “recommenders” (out of a total membership of well over 200,000), is both tiresome and fallacious.

    Belafon’s comment above at least brings out the fallacy buried in Halperin’s comparison — a comparison of apples (the views and statements of actual, powerful political actors) with oranges (the views of marginal windbags).

  17. 17
    Joshua Norton says:

    Methinks that Halperin is just doing the DC Two Step and sucking up to the Obama Admin to get access to those little extra juicy tidbits of gossip he needs for his next excerise in extreme hackery to send to his publisher.

    The man leaves a trail of slime where ever he goes. Attention must not be paid.

  18. 18
    Brett says:

    I do find some occasional entertainment in reading Halperin’s books (from the library, not buying them – although I unwisely bought Way to Win on the recommendation of a professor).

    He may be totally full of shit on any substantive issue, but reading Halperin’s stuff is like reading a trashy, amusing novel – I can’t put it down.

  19. 19
    Mike in NC says:

    toxic freak-show nature of our politico-media culture

    Face it, if ABC, NBC, or CBS thought they could get bigger ratings by hiring Glenn Beck to anchor the evening news, they’d do it in a heartbeat.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    If ABC, NBC, or CBS thought they could get bigger ratings by smothering a child on prime time TV they’d do that. They’ll move farther right if it suits them. Maybe there just aren’t enough Glenn Becks to go around, or maybe they are all watching how CNN grooms Ewick Ewickson so they can hire him away.

    aimai

  21. 21
    MobiusKlein says:

    In partial defense of Halperin, I suspect he’s talking about the early Clinton whitewater / haircut / travelgate shitstorms that occurred early on. For maintaining image “especially early in his presidency,” Obama has an edge over Clinton.

    The majesty of office stuff can go self-fertilize though.

  22. 22

    Halperin got his NIN lyrics cornfizzled. It’s: “I was up above it/Now I’m down in it.”

    Not the other way around.

  23. 23
    Warren Terra says:

    There was some comic book villain that could only be defeated if you tricked him into saying his own name. Maybe Halperin thinks he’s that villain; it would explain why he works to harm our discourse.

  24. 24

    Well, slugs ARE hermaphrodites…

    …i’m not sayin’…i’m just sayin’…

  25. 25

    @Warren Terra:
    Rumpelstilskin lives! :-)

  26. 26
    Tom Hilton says:

    Clearly, Rahm has brainwashed Halperin.

  27. 27
    satyr9us says:

    Not to defend Halperin, and not to denigrate Bill Clinton:
    yes of course, leave the whole impeachment situation, which took place later in his presidency, outside of consideration when comparing Clinton’s first 15 months against Obama’s.

    Isn’t it still objectively true that Obama is maintaining “the majesty of the office” (weird phrase, but whatever) in a manner that outshines his predecessors, notably Clinton?

    At this point in his presidency the press corps was openly referring to him as “Bubba” while running front-page photos of him ordering McDonald’s in his sweaty running clothes. Sure it says as much about the press corps as it does the President. But still: Halperin’s acknowledging, in the only hackish way he knows, that Obama is exceeding the Village’s expectations. They thought they were going to chew him up but it’s been the other way around.

  28. 28
    Redshirt says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Myxlplyx – don’t say it backwards!

  29. 29
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @fourlegsgood:

    It probably is killing Halperin to admit that … b) that the GOP really has gone bat-shit insane and shows absolutely no sign of coming to their senses.

    If Halperin has admitted that, even to himself in the still quiet of a lonely night (I’m assuming), he’s one of the most enlightened of the media bigfeet. That’s about as sad a commentary on the shape we’re in as I can think of.

  30. 30
    Allan says:

    Halperin is just jockeying to unseat Richard Wolffe, and he thought a little analingus with a bipartisan hippie- and bagger-punch finish would do the trick.

    Note that the examples of bagger rage are mostly false, and the hippie ones are mostly true, and are presented as equivalent.

    That was the part that made Broder cream his boxers.

  31. 31
    dollared says:

    Keep at it, John. What you are doing is enforcing an ethical standard that they long ago gave up.

    The good news is that Halperin clearly sees Obama as in control, because he is now sucking up to Obama’s view. It’s not reality, it’s just that he is now choosing to support Rahm’s reality because he thinks he has to.

  32. 32
    Tom Q says:

    Redshirt, to show what a total pedant I can be, I believe the actual name spelling was Mr. Mxyzptlk. I only recall this because the Metropolis Mailbag (in Superman comics, whence this all came) once answered a question about how to say the name phonetically (it was mix-yez-pit-lick). I’m having trouble, though, remembering how Superman kept getting him to say the damn thing backwards.

    Satur9us, you’re certainly correct Obama has maintained a more pristine image than Clinton did at a comparable point, but I think that’s about 90% on the media, who treated Clinton with unprecedented contempt. (The 10% I credit to Clinton would be his incomprehension of how powerful the right wing noise machine was going to be) I think Clinton/Obama can somewhat be analogized to Nixon/Reagan — in each case, the first man ended a seemingly invulnerable political coalition and took alot of skeptical heat over the idea his election might have been a fluke. By the time Reagan/Obama came along, it was clear that old coalition was dead (Bush, like Carter, had only won by the skin of his teeth), so there was somewhat less media buy-in to the “illegitimate” premise. (Though clearly Obama takes more heat than Reagan)

    I think Halperin’s conversion is a fairly simple matter: he sees Obama as likely to end up a successful president (as charismatic figures who enact major change tend to), and he’s trying to get on board before it’s too late.

  33. 33
    Irregardless says:

    What is all this talk about Halperins conversion/turning around etc? You guys are so easy…

  34. 34
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @David in NY: You know, David, if this were an isolated incident, I wouldn’t think much of it. Instead, it’s turned into a recurring theme at DK and Talk Left. I see comments like “My SO tore up his early registration card and is refusing to vote. ‘See how you deal with Speaker Boehner,’ he yelled.”

    It absolutely floors me the way these people think. I’m starting to get frustrated with Obama’s lack of action on DADT, but to somehow think that it’ll be better with Speaker Boner not only baffles me, it really pisses me off.

  35. 35
    El Cid says:

    Clearly liberal moles are trying to slander the Arizona freedum fighters:

    The conflict over a sweeping crackdown on illegal immigration in Arizona intensified Monday as vandals smeared refried beans in the shape of swastikas on the state Capitol’s windows.

  36. 36
    LGRooney says:

    He’s probably referencing Whitewater, Travelgate, Foster’s suicide, etc. All of these were part of the first term and, of course, all of them were horseshit that the GOP trumped up and a song to which the media chorus was all too happy to sing along. Where was Halperin in those days, I wonder?

  37. 37
    Svensker says:

    Having grown up in the Pacific NW I can say this: slugs are very self-aware. They are completely self-confident in their utter slugness, and slime along without the least bit of anxiety or neurosis. There’s a reason that the only difference between “slug” and “smug” is one letter — the creatures feel no need for self-deprecation whatsoever. They do, however, fear the Salt Shaker of Doom.

    Wonder if Halperin would shrink up nicely if we sprinkled him with a little Mortons? I’m game to try.

  38. 38
    tom says:

    OT, but Marc Ambinder demolishes Newt Gingrich today.

  39. 39
    Punchy says:

    @El Cid: If they would only smear with beef tomorrow, and cheese on Wednesday, I could make a kick-ass Protest Burrito by Thursday.

  40. 40
    jeffreyw says:

    fuck you word press!

  41. 41
    dj spellchecka says:

    just wanna point out that “the media chides” about” obama’s poll numbers being down,” are a bit odd considering that the potus’s approval numbers haven’t moved [either way] for the last 6 months..

  42. 42
  43. 43
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Punchy:

    They better hold the cilantro, though. Might split the movement.

  44. 44
    Tony J says:

    The conflict over a sweeping crackdown on illegal immigration in Arizona intensified Monday as vandals smeared refried beans in the shape of swastikas on the state Capitol’s windows

    Well, d’uh! Obviously it had to be Libtards, since they’re the only ones who know enough French to understand what agent provocateur means.

    Real (Confederate) Americans would have smeared the beans into the shape of a cross, what better way to show the heathen Aztlanistanis that Confederate Jeebus is gunning for them?

  45. 45
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): That poster at Kos ends with this

    Say what you will, but Democrats are about to suffer heavy losses in both the House and the Senate because of one thing, and one thing alone: failing to deliver on the promises they made in November 2008

    So…. People voted for Scott Brown and will vote for Marco Rubio because they want DADT repealed and Gitmo closed. I’ve come to hate the term “epistemic closure” (reminds of those grad school colleagues who only came to class, hell, who only came to grad school, to play buzzword bingo), but I suppose that’s what this is.

  46. 46
    david mizner says:

    Loath not loathe, no E.

    As for the substance, well, why wouldn’t Hapelrin be pleased by Obama’s center-right presidency? Hell, Team Obama has been crafting policy and tactics with the likes of Halperin in mind. The only surprise is that it’s taken him to so long to realize he likes what he sees.

  47. 47
    Randy P says:

    @El Cid:

    Clearly liberal moles are trying to slander…

    No, mole is made with chocolate. And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve refried beans. So this can’t be liberal mole.

    I could use some liberal guacamole though…

  48. 48
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Meh. Tune them out for now and return in September. I’ll bet money that by then, they’ll have come around.

  49. 49
    David in NY says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Well, the teabaggers piss me off too, but I would just ignore them if there were not members of Congress, presidential candidates, party chairmen, former Speakers of the House, et al., who were parroting their lines.

    Until you hear Nancy Pelosi or some Democratic Senator, or the head of DNC, saying stuff like what was in that GOS diary, I suggest that you do the same — just ignore it. It has no influence whatsoever, and serves only as a place-holder for lazy journalists who want to suggest that the “left” in this country is as crazy as the Republican right.

    Ed. Also, what Sentient Puddle said.

  50. 50
    Redshirt says:

    @Tom Q: I can support this form of pedantry. In fact, it’s vital. In my defense, I was trying to recall the name from memory, and not go the easy way with a quick google search.

    Also in my defense, I made mine Marvel, so these strange DC heroes and villains leave me a bit lost at times.

  51. 51
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @El Cid:

    They need to update their symbolic references. As James Fallows points out, the authorities in AZ are only following the example set by our Chinese banking overlords:
     

    But if it’s sobering to think that the closest analogy to a new U.S. legal situation is daily life in Communist China, we should also look on the bright side. With some notable and serious exceptions, I typically did not see Chinese police asking for papers on a whim. Usually something had to happen first. Maybe soon the Chinese State Security apparatus can travel to Arizona and give lectures to local police and sheriffs. They can explain how to avoid going crazy with a new power that so invites abuse. “Civil Liberties: Learning from China” can be the name of the course.

  52. 52
    Jim C says:

    @Tom Q:

    Redshirt, to show what a total pedant I can be, I believe the actual name spelling was Mr. Mxyzptlk. I only recall this because the Metropolis Mailbag (in Superman comics, whence this all came) once answered a question about how to say the name phonetically (it was mix-yez-pit-lick).

    I can top you.

    It was originally spelled Mr. Mxyztplk in the ’40s. They screwed up when they brought him back in the late ’50s and misspelled his name and never corrected themselves. (Mix-yez-pit-tell-ick)

    You’re welcome.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @Svensker:

    Salt Shaker of Doom

    Fantastic name for an all girl emo-punk band?
    Or the name of the ultimate referee over all inter-blog spats?

  54. 54
    Mike Kay says:

    Speaking of stunning lack of self awareness,

    Here’s the NYT whining because the BMOC didn’t complement them on the dress they wore to big dance:

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. — President Obama likes to boast that he runs the most transparent White House in history. But William McKinley gives him a run for the money in at least one respect.
    During his weekend break here, Mr. Obama and his wife and friends headed over to the famed Biltmore estate for an evening tour. With 250 rooms, the Biltmore is said to be the nation’s largest private house and makes the White House look like a cottage.
    But evidently the manse once owned by George W. Vanderbilt had no room for the reporters and photographers who follow the president everywhere he goes. They were left to stand outside in the rain, seeking shelter under the overhang of a guest cottage.

    Shorter NYT: “I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!”

    Bunnies beware.

  55. 55
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @fourlegsgood:

    None of these fucktards deserve even a nano’s amount of slack. They are part of the reason the Bush Years existed and another part of the reason the batshit, insane wingnuts took over “their” party.

    We’re here to stop them, not cut them any slack.

  56. 56
    Mike Kay says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): tqalk left always been PUMA central. As for the blogosphere, I don’t see any correlation bwtwn them and base democratic voters.

    After all, their favorite candidates Dean and Edwards did not win the nomination. Hell, their great crusade to defeat loserman ended in a miserable failure.

    The blogosphere wildly supported Edwards and hated hillary with a passion. And what happened: saint edwards got a puny 17% of the vote in New Hampshire, while the online pariah, Hillary, not only won NH, but won half the votes of the entire primary season.

  57. 57
    JK says:

    Is this Halperin column good news for John McCain?

  58. 58
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Mike Kay:

    President Obama likes to boast that he runs the most transparent White House in history. But William McKinley gives him a run for the money in at least one respect.

    Shorter NYT:
    Denali is not just a mountain in Alaska! You betcha! Also, too.

  59. 59

    And for the record, the Lewinsky scandal, the thing that tarnished Clinton’s “public image,” didn’t happen early on, it happened halfway through his second term.

    Paula Jones went public with her story in 1994. This was on the heels of Troopergate (1993) and Gennifer Flowers (1992).

    The Lewinsky scandal may have eclipsed all the earlier scandals, but at the time, the run of sex scandals was pretty damaging, completely aside from the assorted manufactured/invented scandals of the early Clinton years (Travelgate, Vince Foster, Memogate, the brouhaha over Clinton’s haircut on the runway, etc).

  60. 60
    mai naem says:

    Halperin’s either gotten a talk to by Rahmbo about no further access or he may have woken up and noticed how whacked out the teabaggers are. I go with the former because he wants another book advance and he ain’t getting one with no sources.

  61. 61
    ruemara says:

    I just read Pam Durham’s post on GOS regarding the mistreatment of a transgender servicewoman who was arrested protesting DADT last week. What I find annoying is not the tale, I think it’s something that needs to be done, I fully support ending DADT & full access for gays & transgenders. What twisted my knickers was the phrasing of blame for the slurs tossed at the transgendered woman. It was presented as Obama’s responsibility. If someone as sensible as Pam can take that tack with regard to DC police, as if Obama somehow creates an atmosphere of intolerance that made these officers use slurs, I can’t be bothered any more with lefty progressive types. They’re as lacking in reality based focus as the tea partiers.

  62. 62
    kay says:

    This is off topic, but I think it fits the title:

    Before the bill was signed, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hailed it as “a very important step forward.” His spokeswoman, however, clarified to reporters that McCain’s comments “did not represent an endorsement” of the bill. At town hall meetings in Arizona this weekend, McCain continued to straddle the issue, calling it a “good tool” for law enforcement, but also saying that he didn’t know “whether all of it is legal or not“

    There should be a daily “John McCain statement”, sent right to me. As it is, I have to look, although I don’t have to look too hard!
    Just a complete meltdown, on every issue. This has to be documented.

  63. 63
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Tony J:
    @David in NY:
    @Mike Kay:

    I know. And you are all correct. I just think there are two things that could be accomplished by getting Democrats out to vote this November – continuing the changes that Obama has been making, and slapping down the crazy on the right by not giving it any victories – and it is annoying that people cannot see the long term because their pet projects aren’t being accomplished right this moment.

  64. 64
    Ronnie P says:

    @david mizner:

    Could you tell this to Matt Yglesias?

  65. 65
    srv says:

    I don’t like a world where I have to agree with Halperin or Krauthammer – who was whining this weekend about how the Bank Reform bill doesn’t go far enough and break up the banks.

    Does this mean I have an epistemological closure issue?

  66. 66
    slag says:

    @kay: Personally, I’m all for law enforcement using tools that may or may not be legal. It makes life so much less predictable. Besides, what could go wrong?

  67. 67
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @kay:

    There should be a daily “John McCain statement”, sent right to me. As it is, I have to look, although I don’t have to look too hard!
    Just a complete meltdown, on every issue. This has to be documented.

    You’re very unkind to mock John McCain when you know Mr Puddles has gone missing.

  68. 68
    Poopyman says:

    @fourlegsgood:
    The centaur lives! I was getting concerned about inactivity at a certain website.

    Aaaaanyway, Halperin suffers no lack of self-awareness. In December he was selling books, here he’s selling a column. Whatever is good for Halperin is, uh, good for Halperin. Always with the wet finger, testing which way the wind is blowing. So the comment about a talk with Rahm probably isn’t far from the truth.

  69. 69
    Oscar Leroy says:

    There was some comic book villain that could only be defeated if you tricked him into saying his own name

    That was Superman nemesis Mr Mxyzptlk.

  70. 70
    licensed to kill time says:

    @kay:

    I saw him on my teevee this morning, unfortunately. He looks for all the world like a giant wet finger, searching for the breeze that will tell him which way to turn.

  71. 71
    Redshift says:

    Halperin is a more extreme example than most, but sadly, this is nearly a constant refrain in the Beltway press, who shake their heads sadly about what unfortunate things “the press” will do without every acknowledging that they’re part of it and they have a choice about whether to pursue those things or not.

  72. 72
    Oscar Leroy says:

    @david mizner:

    why wouldn’t Hapelrin be pleased by Obama’s center-right presidency? Hell, Team Obama has been crafting policy and tactics with the likes of Halperin in mind.

    What? That’s crazy! Obama signed health care reform, based on Mitt Romney’s plan. . . uh, I mean, his foreign policy is a new direction, other than escalating war and coddling Israel. . . okay forget that, what about his opening up oil exploration and his government-funded nuclear power plants. . . no, what I meant to say was his refusal to create jobs with direct government intervention. . . well, his domestic security plans are much different than Bush’s, not counting Guantanamo being moved to Illinois and whistleblowers being prosecuted and his rejection of Congressional oversight to spy on or order the assasination of Americans and his use of military commissions. . . hold on, this isn’t going like I planned it.

  73. 73
    Oscar Leroy says:

    @cleek:

    some people want massive transformation, and they want it now

    Yeah, those selfish pricks who live in places where unemployment is around 20% want life-shattering bankruptcy and despair to end right away, rather than giving pragmatism and caution and incrementalism time enough to eventually whittle away at the problem.

  74. 74
    Anya says:

    @Oscar Leroy: It’s amusing that some on the left want Obama to be Malcolm X., Tom Hayden and Paul Krugman rolled into one. These serious political observers disregard the role of the Senate in derailing Obama’s agenda. In every instance his proposals were more progressive but they fell victim to the horse trading and the dysfunctional way the Senate does its business. What do you suggest the President do with showboating assholes like Ben Nelson, go gangsta on his ass?

  75. 75
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Oscar Leroy:
    Which past US president has lived up to your standards? Name one please, and let’s see if we can’t poke them full of more logical holes than a piece of swiss cheese.

    Right off the top of my head, here a list of things to be angry and disgruntled with from the standpoint of progressive purity, for every democrat elected to the office in the last 100 years:

    Wilson: was a racist, his AG ran the Palmer raids, screwed the pooch on the Versailles Treaty.
    FDR: saved capitalism rather than destroying it, coddled the southern racists, put patriotic Americans in internment camps.
    Truman: dropped the bomb, started the Cold War, began the US takeover of the British Empire.
    Kennedy: mismanged the Cold War (including Vietnam), shivved the civil rights movement, started us on the slipperly slope of tax cuts.
    LBJ: Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?
    Carter: started the Reagan arms buildup, supported the Shah of Iran for too long, let Paul Volker squeeze the economy while people suffered.
    Clinton: ended welfare, passed NAFTA, rendition, began the bank deregulation which came to full flower under W.

    Don’t even get me started about Grover Cleveland and the Pullman strike – the less said about the 19th Cen the better.

    Oh and every president from JFK on has supported Israel too much.

    So that makes it almost 100 years since Eugene Debs ran for President, with no true progressive leaders in sight. No wonder we haven’t made any progress since 1900. It must suck to be a progressive – the arc of history is long but it bends towards the memory hole.

  76. 76
    Oscar Leroy says:

    @Anya:

    It’s amusing that some on the left want Obama to be Malcolm X., Tom Hayden and Paul Krugman rolled into one.

    Nice straw man. Oh yes, only someone as bold and fearless as Malcolm X could say “hmm, maybe we shouldn’t lock up people forever without convicting or even charging them with a crime.” And Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize winner, Princeton professor, New York Times columnist) is truly the Tom Hayden of economists.

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Which past US president has lived up to your standards? Name one please

    What is the point of this exercise?

    If no one else has fought against eavesdropping on Americans without a warrant, then it’s okay for Obama to not do it either? But yeah, let’s judge Obama by what other presidents did, since he didn’t campaign on Change.

  77. 77
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Oscar Leroy:

    What is the point of this exercise?

    The point of the exercise is, do you understand the concept of historical context in evaluating political questions, or is your rhetoric merely an adaptation of Zeno’s paradoxes (“contrary to the evidence of our senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion.“) to politics.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Oscar Leroy:

    What is the point of this exercise?

    It’s to check and see if you’re operating in the real world or measuring Obama against your ideal fantasy president who can immediately reverse any and all legislation passed by Congress.

    I think you answered that pretty handily, actually.

  79. 79
    Corner Stone says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    or is your rhetoric merely an adaptation of Zeno’s paradoxes

    That seemed a little weak.

  80. 80
    crazydrumguy says:

    […] Mark Halperin is deeply disappointed at the “toxic freak-show nature of our politico-media culture” which has been perpetrated by people such as Mark Halperin. (TIME via Balloon Juice) […]

  81. 81
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ll make it 50 percent stronger next time.
    Lather, rinse, repeat.

  82. 82
    Nellcote says:

    @dollared:

    Halperin is just jockeying to unseat Richard Wolffe,

    This.

    Apparently Wolffe’s access was a big point of contention at the confab the WH press corpse had with Gibbs the other day.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. crazydrumguy says:

    […] Mark Halperin is deeply disappointed at the “toxic freak-show nature of our politico-media culture” which has been perpetrated by people such as Mark Halperin. (TIME via Balloon Juice) […]

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