Damnit Spock, You Still Aren’t Emo Enough

Apparently, Obama is still not showing enough emotion for Charles Blow:

In some cultures, there need to be ritual displays of over the top emotion for some events- profuse groveling including getting down on your hands and knees when making an apology, wailing and beating of the chest and throwing yourself on the coffin at a funeral, and so on. Apparently, this is what we expect out of our political leaders these days.

In order to demonstrate for Blow and the rest of our press that Obama is really quite upset, I’m suggesting that he hit the beach at the oil spill, dressed only in a loin cloth and cilice and discipline, where he can then self-flagellate repeatedly on the back until bloodied, at which time he can stage a self-crucifixion with his blood dripping onto the beach symbolizing the oil spill. That ought to show he cares.






125 replies
  1. 1
    Cat Lady says:

    He’s a secret Muslim so he should totally rock some ululation while he’s up on the cross. Also.

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    These idiots in the press would rather have Bush out there emoting all across the Gulf coast and threatening to capture the oil “dead or alive” than have an actual competent President.

    Pathetic wankers.

  3. 3
    Joey Maloney says:

    Juan “Honk Honk” Williams was on NPR this morning going on about this yet again. At least he had the decency to point out that this was nothing like Katrina. Or at least I thought he did, until he went on to elaborate his theory on this point and according to him the difference was that Katrina was over quickly while this is going to last forever until the Baby Obama cries, or something.

    Jeezus, I want to strangle him with Tucker Carlson’s bowtie.

  4. 4

    I’m suggesting that he hit the beach at the oil spill, dressed only in a loin cloth and cilice and discipline, where he can then self-flagellate repeatedly on the back until bloodied, at which time he can stage a crucifixion.

    And then we get drowned by a jizz tsunami because the bobbleheads will wank out five hundred and ninety two zillion words about the president’s over reaction to the crisis/lack of decorum/nervous breakdown.

  5. 5
    Ash Can says:

    Bread and circuses, bread and circuses. That’s all these yahoos care about. They’ll never grow up.

    There’s been nary a presidential helicopter overhead since yesterday morning, so obviously Obama has stopped caring about everything and has decided that a few hours alone with family and friends and a little shuteye are more important than the pundits’ delicate sensibilities the welfare of the nation. Alert the media!

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    It’s oddly fascinating to watch in real time as the media construct a narrative that is so completely unrelated to reality. Not a doubt in my mind that all this weeks’ discussion will be about the president’s “demeanor”, is he too cool, etc. Should her vapid presence grace the ABC today, Cokie Roberts, as a Louisianienne, will tell us that people “need to feel” that “the President feels their pain”. No one will be the small child at the parade pointing out that Emperor Narrative is naked. The proverbial aliens watching from space would conclude that we elect our presidents based on the strength of their telepathic powers, and the leader Obama has failed to practice his Benai Jezaret mind fuck on a hole in a pipe a mile under the sea.
    The situation is, I’m increasingly and sadly convinced, FUBAR– I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think there’s anything to do but sit back and wait for the relief wells and hope that Bobby Jindal’s artificial sandbars work better than I think they will. I just heard some woman at a rally in LA shout out “Dredge, baby, dredge”

  7. 7
    scav says:

    empathy bad, emo good. that is one fine line.

    (or maybe it’s just that the appearance of emotion is good, so long as it doesn’t approach actually helping another person because they might not be the “right sort”.)

  8. 8
    Maude says:

    @Ash Can:
    Clinton was great theater too. They miss making up drama stories around emotional events. Infantile fools.

    I don’t know where the cemetary is, but if he has to fly, you’ll hear the rotors once again.

  9. 9
    Davis X. Machina says:

    He has to resign. And all his minsters have to resign. He has lost the 天命, the Mandate of Heaven. (Of course, it is open to question whether he could ever have received it, since he is brown and a Democrat),

    Only then the crops will flourish, and the ewes will lamb again. Or the bond market. It’s the same thing.

  10. 10
    Quiddity says:

    Success in politics means connecting with the public. I don’t think Obama should do some of the things John (jokingly) suggests, but the president would benefit if he displayed a gruff irritation with BP et al.

    I think some of the current “what’s with Obama?” is because it’s hard to figure where his head is at. Many folks, myself included, still aren’t sure what he thinks about Goldman Sachs and other bankers. Are they “savvy businessmen” that have done no wrong, or a menace to society? Perhaps Obama’s disdain for hot rhetoric is a reason people fail to identify with him on various policy issues.

    Obama doesn’t have to emote like a hammy actor (or wear a costume like Bush Jr. did), but could be flinty, at a minimum.

    I’ll add that the Obama style seems to be part of the whole administration.

  11. 11
    demo woman says:

    Thanks John, Obama in a loin cloth..hmmm… I can picture that. mmmmmm!

  12. 12
    Laertes says:

    Easier and just as effective would be to hang a banner on an aircraft carrier that says “Damn Leak Plugged” and pose for pictures in front of it.

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    Again I feel compelled to point out that this is very much a regional and/or cultural difference. Being raised in the Midwest where we’re not real big on these “feelings” that you speak of, the emotion in the president’s voice and on his face is blatantly obvious to me. Yutsano was making a good case for the culture in Hawai’i maintaining a similar slight distance.

    (Which would mean that the culture in Hawai’i has more in common with, say, Minnesota than with New York. Yes, I realize how funny that sounds.)

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Quiddity:

    I don’t think Obama should do some of the things John (jokingly) suggests, but the president would benefit if he displayed a gruff irritation with BP et al.

    That’s kinda the cultural difference I’m talking about. You look at Obama speaking and think, “Why is he so detached?” I watch the same footage and think, “Holy shit, he is pissed! Watch out, BP!”

  15. 15
    Phoebe says:

    OT/Good News For Republicans:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....%2Fcolumns

    I can’t tell what’s real and what’s a prank. It all sounds like The Onion.

  16. 16
    Stroszek says:

    There must be some terrible financial news circulating the NYTimes office, because it seems like Blow is angling for a spot on a cable net.

    [quote]Success in politics means connecting with the public. I don’t think Obama should do some of the things John (jokingly) suggests, but the president would benefit if he displayed a gruff irritation with BP et al.[/quote]

    And five seconds after he does that, the press story will be “Obama is scaring Americans with his anti-business rhetoric.” This is why worrying about “optics” is so pointless. Improve the situation and the “optics” will change. If you can’t improve the situation, get ready to ride out the storm.

  17. 17
    scav says:

    @Quiddity: he apparently connected with enough of the people to get elected. and for the rest, there have been ups and downs in “popularity” for every leader. this constant 24/7 keeping a hyper-vigilant watch on the finger of the fickle public’s often ill-informed opinion as then filtered by polls with agendas is getting counter-productive.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Quiddity: Success in politics means connecting with the public. I don’t think Obama should do some of the things John (jokingly) suggests, but the president would benefit if he displayed a gruff irritation with BP et al.

    I don’t disagree with that, and I do think Obama should have been aggressive in talking about this, should’ve gone (back) to the Gulf sooner. But Blow and his ilk are working themselves into a circle jerk that will distract from A) the real problem and B) preventing it from happening again? I confess I’ve been avoiding pundits even more than usual lately as the actual news is depressing enough– couldn’t even watch Maher–but has anyone in prime Village real estate pointed out how perfectly this whole mess addresses the Republican platform? From drill baby drill, to deregulation? i.e. ‘the market takes care of itself’ and “it’s not in the interest of Industry X to pollute/use shoddy equipment/ignore safety regulations/etc, so they won’t do it”?

  19. 19
    YellowJournalism says:

    You have to remember that this is a media that has contructed itself around news stories about how dangerous (insert situation, household product, predator, or education system) is to our children and demands tearful public apologies from athletes when they’re caught cheating on their wives. They don’t work in a journalistic world anymore. There’s a narrative where there has to be a good guy and a bad guy, and for some reason, they are trying to lump our president into the bad guy role with BP because he’s not a good enough method actor in their opinion to play the good guy part.

  20. 20
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Shorter media (with a big assist from the GOP): How dare Obama not react the way we want him too. He’s so uppity. Dance, boy, dance!

  21. 21
    Phoebe says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah. Morons. I can’t believe people really believe he’s emotionless just because he’s not sobbing like Glenn Beck. Actually, I think they’re pretending to believe it, just like Glenn Beck pretends to care about whatever bullshit he’s on about. It’s all puffery.

  22. 22
    Ash Can says:

    @Maude: According to the Chicago Tribune, the cemetery he’ll be visiting is 50 miles southwest of the city, so if he does fly, the copters won’t be going over my neck of the woods. I’m thinking it would make more sense for him to drive, though — since he’s heading out of the city into a relatively rural area, he wouldn’t be tying up holiday traffic quite as badly. Of course, I’m not Secret Service, so I’m only guessing.

  23. 23
    gwangung says:

    @Mnemosyne: So, basically, the Villagers are out of touch with Real Americans and how they act and feel in flyover country.

  24. 24
    demo woman says:

    where he can then self-flagellate repeatedly on the back until bloodied, at which time he can stage a self-crucifixion with his blood dripping onto the beach symbolizing the oil spill. That ought to show he cares.
    In order to prove that the beach and water are safe for tourists, he should go skinny dipping.

  25. 25
    Citizen_X says:

    I guess this would be the spot to point out where The Mustache of Understanding pursues Good ends–challenging and changing our fossil-fuel-based economy–but using Foul methods. Specifically, he says Obama should “react to this spill as a child would,” with a “simple gut reaction.” “[H]e has to think like a kid,” Friedman tells us, “Kids get it.”

    Go ahead, see for yourself. You’ll be like I was before I read it: “Must…not…click…Friedman link…(click) NNNOOOOOO!”

    Also, (too,) Frank Rich points out that if Obama fails to successfully Do Something about this spill, he risks turning everything over to the Do Absolutely Nothing teabagger crowd. It’s a far better editorial than the other one but, then again, it was written by an adult.

  26. 26
    Cerberus says:

    @Quiddity:

    Uh, I don’t know about you, but the persona he has created if not who he is naturally (and it’s my belief that who he is naturally is someone more not less pissed at the right-wing) is pretty much on board with common people versus the evil fuckers.

    His “tempered behavior” seems to be a result of the impotence of the president. He seems to be training us all over again that a president is not actually a dictator nor a superhero and that the government and world are bigger than one man’s personal emotional saga. Wall Street isn’t going to be affected by Obama being pissed, it is going to be reeled in once we can convince enough conservadems to do their fucking job and stop putting out for Wall Street.

    Similarly, I don’t see the benefit waiting Obama in letting himself fall in the bear trap and become “responsible” for the clean up. He’s providing all the backup he can and he’s trying to fix the MMS as much as he’s allowed (hey, here’s a great question, given the general record of republicans in holding up various federal nominations and hirings, I wonder just how many they’ve held up for MMS or departments overseeing it? Wouldn’t that make a good news piece?), but this is BP’s screwup (and Halliburton’s) and it needs to hang around their neck and everyone else who yelled Drill Baby Drill.

    Because apparently we are morons and need our Three Mile Island to learn something is a bad fucking idea in the hands of morons CEOs morons.

  27. 27
    jwb says:

    You have to wonder, though, why this only happens when Dems are in power. No, you don’t have to wonder, really, because, you just have to follow the money to see why it’s the case, but still…

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    What I’m waiting for is the discovery by some constitutional scholar that ‘lack of emotion’ is not only a fatal flaw, it’s an impeachable offense. And no, unfortunately, I’m not joking.

  29. 29
    Uloborus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    I watched that press conference – Thursday, wasn’t it? I could not have been more disgusted at the White House Press Corps and their questions. First they dug around trying to get him to justify the ‘The White House should kick BP off the spill’ angle, then they veered around to approach it from a different angle, digging for hints that the administration was mad at BP because BP was deliberately mucking up the recovery. When that didn’t work they started harping about who was going to be fired, whether or not someone had been fired already, and whether this was totally unethical. When Obama told them that one person had resigned and it had happened so late Wednesday he didn’t even know the details (they didn’t report directly to him) they just ignored him.

    All they wanted was a scandal. Substantive questions – they didn’t give a damn.

  30. 30
    Stroszek says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: You’ve hit the nail on the head. The obsession with Obama’s theatrical aptitude is intended to distract from the real culprits who, by the way, are a huge source of ad revenue.

    Much better to talk about Obama’s lack of tears than our country’s lack of regulation.

  31. 31
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “Holy shit, he is pissed! Watch out, BP!”

    I get that, too. It’s more subtle than crying or screaming, but is it really that subtle that’s it’s missed? There’s also the fact that people that scream a lot get ignored, eventually. I ignore them, anyway. This is going to be a long haul. I’m not sure he should surf along on each emotion-wave.
    This is what he is. The media are going to have to accept it, because he is stubbornly insisting on being himself, and he always does.
    How are pundits getting that “emotion” is what’s required, anyway? From that poll? What if people are unhappy about something else about the response? When did we decide it was “emotion”?

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Citizen_X: I resisted the urge to click, figuring it would have to be as bad as I was expecting, and now you tell me it was. So Friedman has joined the “If Obama really wanted it….” chorus? Jesus, at least up till now they’ve only been ignoring poltiical realities. Now science and physics are just a matter of presidential will.

    This man has not one, but two, but three Pulitzer Prizes.

  33. 33
    Hob says:

    @Quiddity: Could you explain how Obama could add more of the requisite “gruff irritation” to the following statements so as to avoid coming off as an uncaring, emotionless robot? Or is your point that he should be saying the same things or variations on the same things several times a day, every day, so there’s no chance you might miss one?

    “I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle … executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn’t.”

    “As far as I’m concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster, and we will hold them fully accountable…”

    “[E]very day that this leak continues is an assault on the people of the Gulf Coast region, their livelihoods, and the natural bounty that belongs to all of us. It is as enraging as it is heartbreaking, and we will not relent until this leak is contained, until the waters and shores are cleaned up, and until the people unjustly victimized by this manmade disaster are made whole.”

    I mean, I really don’t know what practical measures the administration could be taking right now that it isn’t, but I’m at least willing to believe that there could be some, so the “why isn’t he doing more” argument is at least something to talk about. But this “maybe he can’t do anything but why isn’t he angry, why isn’t he expressing any opinion at all, why can’t he connect with the people” thing I keep hearing is just… weird. It makes me think we’re just not reading the same news, or else we have very different ideas about how human beings express themselves.

  34. 34
    jwb says:

    @MattF: Actually, I’m sure both expressing emotion and not expressing emotion are impeachable offenses—just to make sure all the bases are covered.

  35. 35
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    This is the inevitable result of a country electing its political leaders as if voting for a new character on a soap opera.

    It also reminds me of that old joke about the Jewish mother, the one that ends with the punchline “He had a hat?”

    If he swam down and stopped the leak himself, the Villagers would be complaining about the cut and color of his wetsuit.

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gwangung:

    So, basically, the Villagers are out of touch with Real Americans and how they act and feel in flyover country.

    I know, whodathunkit? After all, everyone in DC knows that Dana Milbank has his finger on the pulse of ordinary Americans.

  37. 37
    joe from Lowell says:

    I’ve seen this movie already, and I know how it ends.

    “If Barack Obama doesn’t suspend his campaign like John McCain, he’s doomed.”

    You all remember how that one turned out, right?

  38. 38
    jwb says:

    @kay: “How are pundits getting that “emotion” is what’s required, anyway? From that poll?”

    It plays well on TV, from the angle of the TV producers anyway.

  39. 39
    Hob says:

    @Quiddity: Ha, I just got stuck in moderation for including too many links to news stories, because I wanted to be all documented and shit. Basically I was just wondering whether you have some very different idea of how to recognize “gruff irritation” than I do, or whether we’re just not reading the same news stories. Because, for example, “I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle … executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn’t”, to me, sounds like a somewhat irritated and possibly even gruff statement. Phrases like “as enraging as it is heartbreaking” are also not what I’d expect from an emotionless robot. Now, it’s true that Obama isn’t including those phrases in every single statement he makes every day, but I can’t say I see that as a problem.

  40. 40
    You Don't Say says:

    And while the daily press worry whether Obama is sufficiently emotional, McConnell continually pulls infuriating BS that really cripples gov’t:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....how/57441/

  41. 41
    Comrade Luke says:

    @kay:

    The media are going to have to accept it

    Ha, good one!

    Nobody puts baby in a corner.

  42. 42
    jwb says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Or that he’s showing off, or something. I smell RW framing behind this whole emotion thing, as it plays into one of their basic templates for controlling the narrative: Force the story into a binary opposition— emotion/no emotion—then construct negative narrative arcs for both options. Shows emotion, not presidential (and a lot of other confirming stuff); doesn’t show emotion, not presidential (and a lot of other confirming stuff).

  43. 43
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I would ask for one thing. Obama, because he is so level-headed, has a wonderful ability to calm people down.

    It works on both pundits and normal people. In this case, pundits need hand-holding, I haven’t seen enough evidence that citizens do, but I think he can and should offer what he has the ability to offer, which is a sense of calm and order.

    If he has a “daddy” skill, that’s it. He’s never going to be a screamer.

  44. 44
    An American in Exile says:

    Most of our so-called media want Obama to blow his top so they can publish their already-prepared op-eds about how our president is really the stereotypical “angry black man.” That he won’t play into their hands in this fashion is making them progressively more insane.

  45. 45
    Stroszek says:

    @jwb: Yes. When the media isn’t complaining about lack of emotion, they’re warning us all about the dangers of empathy.

  46. 46

    That’s kinda the cultural difference I’m talking about. You look at Obama speaking and think, “Why is he so detached?” I watch the same footage and think, “Holy shit, he is pissed! Watch out, BP!”

    See, I hear the pissed-off too and I’m from D.C. And you know we’re all sissy pants who have nervous breakdowns if our lattes aren’t made exactly the way we want them.

    But really, if Obama gave a damn (and I don’t think he does or he wouldn’t have even run) he’d know this is a no win for him. Too little display of emotion (because who the fuck knows what he’s thinking) and you get a certain flavour of B.S. from the Opinion Factory. Too much display of emotion and you get a different flavour (Are the President’s tears sincere? or Oil Spill Pushes Obama to the Brink).

    I mean, look at what all these assholes are focused on: What they think President Obama is thinking. Really? Wow. That’s below gossip column caliber journalism.

    I have to say as someone who has to do research and conduct interviews before I can even float a story idea, I sometimes envy these lazy motherfuckers. But I’m glad we’ve got a president who could give a fuck about what they think.

    Edit: What AiE @ 44 says. Also2. Calm cool collected Black Male DOES NOT COMPUTE!

  47. 47
    Davis X. Machina says:

    If he swam down and stopped the leak himself, the Villagers would be complaining about the cut and color of his wetsuit.

    Not hypocritical enough. Any Republican worth his salt would bloviate about the number of good, high-paying, unionized workers he just put out of work.

  48. 48
    Joey Maloney says:

    I will admit that in my fantasy, Obama has all the BP top management brought to the Oval Office. It’s night, and the only light is one of those accountant’s green-shade desk lamps so that his face is in shadow. And he shows them the indictments he’s had drawn up for criminal negligence, and the pleadings for all of them to be held without bail as flight risks, and explains how his pet judge will rule in favor of the government and maybe they could get it overturned on appeal but they’ll still spend a couple of weeks in the Tombs in NYC (does the Tombs even still exist? I only read about it in Harlan Ellison’s Memos From Purgatory) and sometimes people’s paperwork gets lost for a lot longer. A lot longer. And how if they agree to turn over all their research and all their best people to be seconded to the Coast Guard on full salary, then the indictments will be forgotten.

    And then after they do what he says, Obama laughs evilly and double-crosses them and has them hooded and flown off to Guantanamo Bay or something anyway.

    But since I’m older than 4 I understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Unlike, apparently, the entire Washington press corps.

  49. 49
    Citizen_X says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: It’s more along the lines of classic anti-intellectualism. It’s actually titled “Malia for President.” Seriously. He says that Malia understands things properly. He thus ignores that, over the years, Malia will discover from interacting with people how intractable they can be and, from her education, how complicated science, technology and politics can get. You know, that process known as learning.

  50. 50
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @jwb:

    I smell RW framing

    It’s all right wing framing. It’s what the framers intended, apparently, because it’s all we seem to get.

  51. 51

    Oh, fuck, not this shit again! I have almost stopped reading GOS because of this.

  52. 52
    jwb says:

    @Joey Maloney: I’m sure some flavor of this scene will be in the Hollywood treatment.

  53. 53
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    Apparently, Obama is still not showing enough emotion for Charles Blow …

    MoDo is on it too. Dowd’s got a thematically similar column up that is equally shallow and foul.

    .

  54. 54
    CLG says:

    @Mnemosyne: This! I am from North Missouri and I totally agree.

  55. 55
    JenJen says:

    I’ll take it a step further… maybe it would satisfy Maureen Dowd, et al if the President slathered oil on his body, stood atop a heap of dead pelicans, and shouted through a bullhorn.

    This is so fucking ridiculous.

  56. 56
    kay says:

    @jwb:

    I smell RW framing behind this whole emotion thing, as it plays into one of their basic templates for controlling the narrative:

    I’m completely paranoid, but did you notice what a big deal Republicans made out of their meeting with Obama where Obama (allegedly) got mad?

    The whole theme was ‘thin-skinned” and “needs a sedative” and “easily rattled”.

    So it’s weird how all the pundits are now calling for him to have a hissy fit on television.

    The next day, the GOP will roll out “in over his head”.

  57. 57
    eemom says:

    speaking of Villagers, I know that we generally regard Frank Rich as an exception……but I gotta give Somerby credit for calling that one out, because I’ve become increasingly convinced that Rich is just a particularly subtle and artful concern troll. Check out today’s column — it starts out ok, but essentially he ends up saying the same stupid shit as Peggy Noonan.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kay:

    In this case, pundits need hand-holding, I haven’t seen enough evidence that citizens do, but I think he can and should offer what he has the ability to offer, which is a sense of calm and order.

    I agree. I’m not quite sure what that would entail, but at a minimum he’s probably going to have to cave and hold at least a weekly press conference with the White House press corps until the thing is capped so they’ll stop running around with their “I will not be ignored!” routine.

    (Yeah, I know, they’ll never actually give that up, but a girl can dream, can’t she?)

  59. 59
    JenJen says:

    @jwb:

    I smell RW framing behind this whole emotion thing, as it plays into one of their basic templates for controlling the narrative: Force the story into a binary opposition— emotion/no emotion—then construct negative narrative arcs for both options. Shows emotion, not presidential (and a lot of other confirming stuff); doesn’t show emotion, not presidential (and a lot of other confirming stuff).

    This.

  60. 60
    Silver Owl says:

    LOL! People drive me crazy with their, “Oh they didn’t show enough emotion! I must whine about it. ” or “Oh they showed too much emotion! I must whine about that too.”

    What a bunch of goofy control freaks. I could careless about the showing of emotion as long as “action” is taken.

  61. 61
    kay says:

    @jwb:

    This is what I mean:

    Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said Obama’s response to the GOP criticism showed he was so “thin-skinned” that he should “take a Valium” before he comes to talk to Republicans again.

    As Obama left the Capitol, he told reporters, “It was a good and frank exchange.”

    Later, White House spokesman Bill Burton said the session was “civil in tone” and that Republican accounts of the meeting were overblown.

    I’m like :”it’s a trap” I don’t really trust them :)

  62. 62
    scav says:

    oh yeah, there was that whole “take a valium Obama” whoop-la briefly.

  63. 63
    Citizen_X says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    hold at least a weekly press conference with the White House press corps until the thing is capped

    I think this is actually a very good idea, no matter what needs it may or may not satisfy for the press corps.

  64. 64
    eemom says:

    @kay:

    Better yet…..I never, ever read the asshole, but over at Memeorandum they’ve got a link to Byron York saying that Obama’s got Nation of Islam thugs surrounding his house in Chicago to beat back the reporters.

  65. 65
    DC10 says:

    I don’t recall Bush Jr. or Sr. ever really conveying these “I feel your pain” or “Daddy will make it alright” behaviors that all these middle-aged commentators are trying to convince us are the norm or what is needed from this President in this situation. I definitely don’t recall them carrying on like this during the most comparable situation, the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster. It’s funny how they demean Bill Clinton, but desperately seem to want Obama to be Clinton (when they are not expressing disappointment that he’s not FDR or LBJ or MLK).

  66. 66
    Lit3Bolt says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not quite sure what that would entail, but at a minimum he’s probably going to have to cave and hold at least a weekly press conference with the White House press corps until the thing is capped so they’ll stop running around with their “I will not be ignored!” routine.

    Yup, this. While pundits are standing in line for their turn (I wanna undermine the President! No, me!), my resignation over the oil spill is being combined with my resignation that this is just going to turn into a huge hit for Obama, as he is just as helpless to cap the tears of emoness from the nation’s Teevees.

  67. 67
    Joey Maloney says:

    @eemom: Would that it were true. Nothing I’d like better than to see Chip Reid, Jake Tapper, Bill Plante and especially Major Garrett getting the crap knocked out of them by tall, saturnine black guys in dark suits, white shirts, and skinny ties.

    …And Helen Thomas mowing them down with spinning back kicks and forehead smashes. “Mister President! Mister President!” WHAP! POW! “Will you tell the American people why…” SMASH! “…we’re in Afghanistan?”

  68. 68
    bemused says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Immigrant scandinavians settled in the upper Midwest in large numbers & you can easily see that scandinavian horror of showing too much emotion today. They will chuckle politely watching a great comic but inside they are laughing their asses off. None of that whooping & hollering unless enough alcohol is involved. Skepticism of excessive emotion can be healthy considering the folksy schtick Bush used on us.
    Funny you mention Hawaii. I have always been intrigued by the similarity between the Hawaiian & Finnish languages. They both have a lot of K’, H’s & L’s and place names are 13+ letters long.

  69. 69
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think it would be a good thing to come out Tuesday and lay out the coastal damage-mitigation plan, now that the efforts to stop the thing didn’t work.
    That is the feds area, and the EPA has jurisdiction on protection. The Washington Post (!) did a good short interview with an EPA person on how money damages are calculated, in terms of habitat. I think it would be comforting for people to know they have done this before (smaller spills) and they aren’t starting from scratch.

  70. 70
    jwb says:

    @kay: “The next day, the GOP will roll out “in over his head”.”

    Yes, but I can’t imagine that Obama will give it to them. I really believe that he understands this dynamic far better than does either the press or the Goopers. I also think framing Obama as Spock does him little harm, even if the media wants us to think it’s awful, because the show tells us Spock is a decent and good character.

  71. 71
    Pamela F says:

    @Hob:
    You should send your comment with all the documentation to Charles Blow, Maureen Dowd–who today made it sound like Spock showed more emotion than Obama, etc.

    Also, the media needs to be reminded that when Obama was inspiring millions with his “pretty speeches–that he was being cast as a lightweight who could do little else. It’s also important that they reminded that behavior is the best indicator of truth: Obama chose community organizing, civil rights litigation and teaching constitutional law over making corporate big $$$. He chose service and community over wealth. This whole damn Village meme is getting to be very depressing because if they can make this stick the consequences for out country is dire.

  72. 72
    maya says:

    Why haven’t there been emo interviews with Dick “Sweet Crude” Cheney, soliciting his solution(s) to this Gulf War dilemma ? I mean, he was the librul media’s goto guy for his opposing national security, warren terror, and enhanced interrogation technique expertise, wasn’t he? It’s as if all those years at Halliburton were wasted.

  73. 73
    kay says:

    @eemom:

    I’m actually pleased they’re pursuing their usual idiot, fringe echo-chamber strategy.
    If it were me, I might be pointing to the lake of oil in the Gulf, rather than the nation of Islam.
    No one ever accused them of practicality, or common sense.

  74. 74
    Uloborus says:

    @jwb:
    I assumed that the intent was to make him look like a sci-fi geek who Real Americans, obviously, remember beating up on playgrounds.

  75. 75
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I’m like :”it’s a trap” I don’t really trust them :)

    First step in any Democratic administration — Admiral Akbar as chief-of-staff.

  76. 76
    bemused says:

    @kay:
    Media detests subtlety because it’s too boring for them. Wingnuts don’t know what subtlety is.

  77. 77
    Cat Lady says:

    The Bobblespeak Translation is up and especially good this week.

    Gregory: so assuming Superman is fiction the oil
    will continue to spill until August of 2015
    __
    Browner: in that case the beaches will be re-designated “Free Oil National Park”
    __
    Gregory: Excellent.

  78. 78
    wrb says:

    @Phoebe:

    But Republicans might want to take a hard look at the suggestion that “we need to reframe the discussion” about the BP oil spill to counteract the “environmental whackos” worried about wildlife. Republicans, this person proposed, should argue that “BP is creating a new race of faster dolphins. These fish are unable to compete against the fish of other countries, but now their increased lubrication will allow them to fly through the water. Faster fish = good.”

    total win

  79. 79
    trollhattan says:

    Since I’m not googling any topic that includes “blow” can someone tell me who CharlesM is and why I should give a rat’s ass?

    Also, too, do folks expect the preznet to go full Martin Lawrence and don large-black-woman drag for planned public spectacles? Because that would be kewhl.

  80. 80
    Michael says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I agree. I’m not quite sure what that would entail, but at a minimum he’s probably going to have to cave and hold at least a weekly press conference with the White House press corps until the thing is capped so they’ll stop running around with their “I will not be ignored!” routine.

    I’m kind of thinking that having his alleged Nation of Islam thugs curb stomp Major Garrett on live TV as a message to the rest would be a good start.

  81. 81
    kay says:

    @jwb:

    I also think framing Obama as Spock does him little harm, even if the media wants us to think it’s awful, because the show tells us Spock is a decent and good character.

    I don’t know if his essential reserve will be harmful. I think he can appear cold. That usually comes with “level-headed” and “careful”, so I’ll take it. I also think he has what I think of as an old-fashioned idea about “public behavior” versus “private behavior” and I agree with him there. I think there’s a difference, and there’s too much bleeding between those two spheres, not too little.
    I don’t know that it matters what they want, so I’m fatalistic. This is what he is. He’s had a lot of success being what he is. I don’t see that he’s going to change his essential nature, or that he can.

  82. 82
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I wonder, as I resist clicking on Maureen Dowd’s column link like I tell myslef not to sniff the milk to see if it’s sour, just pour it down the sink under hot water:
    Do you think as Villager A says to Villager B: “Did you read Maureen’s latest?”, and V-B responds, “Oh yeah, she’s great!”, if V-A isn’t secretly hoping to hear, “Oh, no, she’s gotten a little stale”, and if V-B’s secret reaction to the question is “Oh, shit, are we still supposed to be reading MoDo? I’ll just say I read it and it was great”

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    @kay:

    Obama-as-Spock offers the delicious possibility of his going through “plak tow” during the reelection campaign. Who wouldn’t love to watch the Obama-Palin debates, then?

  84. 84
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Cat Lady: He nailed David Brooks perfectly:

    Brooks: this disaster proves that conservatives are right – there are limits to what government can do to fix the disasters caused by conservatives

    If that isn’t boiled essence of eau de Brooks from every column he’s ever written, I don’t know what would be.

  85. 85
    kay says:

    @eemom:

    I like Frank Rich. I think he has a good sense of political theater.
    I think he’s much much closer to reading populism accurately than David Brooks or Maureen Dowd, which is amusing all by itself.
    He talks like he leaves his apartment and walks around occasionally. You know, mingling with the peons.

  86. 86
    Citizen_X says:

    Here’s my favorite bit of Presidential Emo: Bush I crying about the Exxon Valdez losing its “Precious, precious oil.”

    @trollhattan: Wouldn’t that lead to an Obama-Rahm death match? AWESOME!

    ETA: Or maybe Obama-Todd. Rahm I might have been willing to put a coupla quatloos on. First Dude? Fugetaboutit.

  87. 87
    rikyrah says:

    Blow needs to go somewhere and sit down.

  88. 88
    WereBear says:

    @Quiddity: Once again, as other commenters have pointed out, those familiar with what might be termed as the “Midwest Emotional Style” already see all these things; gruff irritation, environmental anguish, and burning rage; that the President is being criticized for not showing.

    Perhaps what we need is a Midwest interpreter in a little box on the screen, emoting NYC style for the emotional reading impaired.

  89. 89
    trollhattan says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Brilliant! As long as they’re not dueling on snow masheens, preznet prevails. (Would that mean he “wins” Sarah? I’m not totally up on Vulcan culture.)

  90. 90
    ruemara says:

    @Phoebe: Wonkette is like 4-chan with blingee. They were a large part of hosing that site.

  91. 91
    Ash says:

    What is all this Spock shit? HE’S A GOD DAMNED ALIEN ON A TV SHOW.

  92. 92
    kay says:

    @WereBear:

    Did you think about it when he was elected? I did.
    A midwestern President, because he has that distinctive “clipping off words for clarity and emphasis” speech style that Chicago people have.
    Maybe the “he’s black” threw people off, and they didn’t get to “regional”.
    He spent formative time in Kansas.
    He’s like Bob Dole!
    Well, sort of.

  93. 93
    bemused says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    A local Baptist, uber republican has a web site. He lists his favorite stuff under “Christian web sites” which are creation, prophecy, Left Behind series, Hannity, Fox, far right religious radio stations & so on. I was surprised, at first, to see that he linked to Maureen Dowd. On second thought, not so surprising.

  94. 94
    JenJen says:

    @kay: Exactly. Being a born-and-bred midwesterner myself, I saw more of a Truman in Obama during the primaries, and thought it was about goddamned time we elected a non-southern President to boot.

    We’re seeing a lot of midwesterner in him right now. The chatterknob wanknuggets have yet to wrap their brains around the “regional” aspect of his leadership style. Really good observation, Kay and WereBear.

  95. 95
    Pamela F says:

    @JenJen:
    Unfortunately, the only “regional” style that’s ever “discussed” is “Chicago gangsta”.

  96. 96
    Michael says:

    @kay:

    A midwestern President, because he has that distinctive “clipping off words for clarity and emphasis” speech style that Chicago people have.
    Maybe the “he’s black” threw people off, and they didn’t get to “regional”.
    He spent formative time in Kansas.
    He’s like Bob Dole!
    Well, sort of.

    I’m in that portion of the South that blends with the Midwest, and completely get the style, as I’ve got some of that same pattern. Not a lot of drama with loads of clarity – and once he’s said his piece, he doesn’t see the need to repeat. It can be real frustrating for the woman in our lives, as we seek to communicate with brevity, and assume that people hear what we say and then move on in accordance with what we said.

  97. 97
    jwb says:

    @kay: “I don’t see that he’s going to change his essential nature, or that he can.”

    Or that he should. No, I’ll take him for who he is.

  98. 98
    Michael says:

    @JenJen:

    …chatterknob wanknuggets…

    I think I’m in lerve…..

  99. 99
    kay says:

    @JenJen:

    I love all the regional differences in speech and manner but I was glad that I wasn’t going to be listening to “southern” or “fake-Texan”. 16 years is a long time.
    I knew there would be some media ignorance of Chicago mannerisms or speech-style, because they completely ignore Chicago.
    An example: the Chicago media (especially newspapers) covered Obama in great detail, aggressively, really all through his career, but major DC-New York media kept insisting he was this absolute mystery.
    They could have saved themselves a lot of time and useless speculation had they looked at some archives, on Rezko or anything else.

  100. 100
    SIA says:

    @ Mnemosyne
    This is it exactly! When I watched the press conference, I had a real sense of emotional distress and frustration from the president. I was shocked later that day when the stupid narrative returned in full force.

    I expect this crap from MoDo, but its seems to be a widespread meme now.

    Maybe it’s time for a missing blonde for the villagers. (who will be found holed up with a handsome Cubanin a poolhouse in Miami snorting coke and having wild sex. I wish no harm to anyone.)

  101. 101
    CanadaGoose says:

    He’s been known as No-Drama Obama for donkey’s years. He’s not going to change for you or me or the even less-impressive pundits.

    Frankly, having seen him for years retain his cool over various insults and attacks, I thought he sounded absolutely FURIOUS (in a no-drama way) at the presser.

  102. 102
  103. 103
    kay says:

    @CanadaGoose:

    Dana Millbank though he sounded apologetic. He was frightened by that, or something. Obama did what he always does, which is critique his own work performance, fairly accurately, I thought. I was thinking, ‘well, that’s true enough.”
    I swear, they want “President as bullshitter”.

  104. 104
    JenJen says:

    @Michael: You should hear what I call those jacknozzles in private. :-)

    @jwb: Charles Blow is also a frequent, albeit it silent guest on “Morning Joe.” They kind of put him in a corner while Doucheborough shouts over him and Mika nods her noggin like so many bobbleheads in a sports memorabilia store window display.

  105. 105
    jwb says:

    @JenJen: Don’t watch TV, so didn’t know Blow appeared on Morning Joe.

  106. 106
    trollhattan says:

    @jwb:

    Got it, thanks. So, he’s part of our lubrul media elite squadron of handwringers. Nice work, mistah Blow.

  107. 107
    WereBear says:

    @kay: Maybe the “he’s black” threw people off

    Well, yeah. After all, Bill O’Reilly fans probably think the same “More ice tea, mf” as he does; as though all African Americans are inner city urbanites, when every big city creates their own variations on this theme, just as they do dance steps; and that is, it should go without saying, not nearly all there is to African Americans.

    But yes, right down to the dry subtle humor, he does have a Bob Dole style, but most people won’t EVER see that because they can’t see anything but excessive melanin.

  108. 108
    WereBear says:

    @Michael: It can be real frustrating for the woman in our lives, as we seek to communicate with brevity, and assume that people hear what we say and then move on in accordance with what we said.

    Had to give you an “attaboy” for recognizing that. Along the same lines, I wish more women would adopt that same straightforwardness when dealing with the men in their lives.

    Just say what you want, sistah, and if the guy cares, he’ll move heaven and earth to give it to you.

  109. 109
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @WereBear: You caught Bill-O’s “you look like a coke dealer” moment?

    I never made the Obama-Dole connection. I always had kind of a soft spot for Dole, too bad the old crank fell in with such a bad crowd.

  110. 110
    Allison W. says:

    I’m glad that I’m not the only who saw that Obama was pissed. I can always tell when he’s pissed. I pay attention to peoples facial expressions more than I do their words (comes in handy when some guy is hitting on me) and there is this thing that Obama does with his top lip – it’s like a half sneer and as he talks you can hear the anger and disgust in the pace of his speech.

  111. 111
    kay says:

    @WereBear:

    I wanted to them to put the EPA in front, because we’re now at that point in The Plan, where the Coast Guard recedes and the EPA assumes responsibility for environmental protection as oil hits the coast.
    And they’re doing that. The EPA head is giving interviews. So that’s good.

    On an unrelated but infuriating note, Bobby Jindal is a disgusting hypocrite. He was an oil-industry friendly House member, and now that his former best buddies have recklessly destroyed his state, he’s decided that the real problem is the federal government isn’t getting him enough resources to clean up the mess he helped make.

    This, after he weakened and marginalized the state agency that responds to oil spills:

    Jindal has also come under fire from Louisiana Democrats for moving the state’s Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, formerly a free-standing executive agency reporting directly to the governor, to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

  112. 112
    Uloborus says:

    @kay:
    Yeah. The press asked Obama why he hadn’t given Jindal the resources he asked for at the Thursday press conference. I admit, I thought they were being snotty and gouging, but it sounded like a good question. Obama’s answer was that the resources were split up according to a national plan based on need and where the oil was going.

    So basically, Jindal put in a huge order to the government he knew he couldn’t get so that he could whine that Obama doesn’t care.

  113. 113
    WereBear says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yes, dear lord in heaven.

    I did like the comeback… “Well, you look like a customer.”

    Oh, snap!

  114. 114
    Quiddity says:

    @WereBear: A press conference is not the place to act out. Partly because of the peculiar nature of the press’ attitude (in “gotcha mode”) and partly because of the format and physical forum where it takes place (White House, from a lone podium, etc).

    But there are other venues with friendly audiences where a politician can speak out with more force, without being opposed on the spot, and that is where memorable applause lines are coined. Those are gold for a politician.

    Obama doesn’t even have to attack British Petroleum. He could speak disparagingly about the oil (“creeping menace”) or the drilling rigs (“Rube Goldberg apparatus on mile-high stilts”) – both which indirectly tar the knuckleheads that failed to prevent or stop the gusher. (pun intended)

  115. 115
    Uloborus says:

    @Quiddity:
    I rather strongly think that if he did the press would either ignore it, or look for a way to work it back into one of the memes they’re hounding him with. Like they’re grabbing any time one of his team expresses frustration with BP to push the ‘Why haven’t you kicked BP off the job?’ meme.

    I know the press has been showing slight signs of improvement since HCR, but every time I bother to watch TV news they’re acting like jackasses. That press conference was very dispiriting. The FOX person actually tried to talk over Obama while he was explaining things. The others just played utterly pathetic gotcha games and ignored Obama’s explanations.

    EDIT – further point. During HCR, the president gave a lot of little public town halls and appearances and such, and I saw several and he consistently spent some time poking holes in GOP lies. Apparently this didn’t get any media traction, ’cause nobody seems to know he did it. In unscheduled or low national recognition commentary the press makes up for their inability to twist things immediately with the pretending it didn’t happen card. Like immigration rallies at the same time as Tea Party rallies. They have their narratives and the juicy scandals they want to invent, and they stick to them.

  116. 116
    kay says:

    @Uloborus:

    Which Jindal knows, because the national plan consists of coastal state submissions on priority placement of federal resources.
    Jindal submitted or approved the plan for Louisiana.
    He can’t tell his voters that, I guess, so he’s decided to pretend that he’s helpless before the jack-booted federal government.
    Once again, since no one in media bothered to look at even a bullet-pointed version of the Oil Pollution Act (which is up on the EPA website) he’ll be spouting this nonsense until it becomes “fact”.
    The Oil Pollution Act has to be required reading for media. It’s the whole framework of this disaster. That’s why it was drafted. They will continue to not understand until they sit down and read the EPA fact sheet on it. It took me 10 minutes.
    We could have skipped the whole lunacy on “why don’t they federalize?” if a single reporter had read the summary.
    They “federalized” the moment they declared it a “spill of national signifigance”, which was weeks ago.

  117. 117
    Quiddity says:

    @Uloborus: The Fox guy was Major Garrett, if I recall correctly. He was an ass.

  118. 118
    Mike G says:

    Remember all the shit Bill Clinton took from the Repigs for for his “I feel your pain” empathy? Now Obama isn’t empathetic enough toward the lost oil, apparently the only thing Repigs care about deeply. And if Obama should blow his top and pound his fist demanding ‘something’ be done, they can roll out the “angry black man” campaign they’ve been prepping for the last two years.

    Too bad Bush isn’t still in charge. He could put a horse lawyer in command of the engineering response, then attack the oil with “nookyular weapons” and give it a tax cut while making jut-jawed speeches about “resolve” while dressing up like one of the Village People on an aircraft carrier, and the puerile media tools would make weewee in their excitement.

  119. 119
    Jody says:

    …alls I want to know is how any of this is going to improve our prospects for the future.

    Unless we change things I see absolutely no hope; just a series of cordoning off the uninhabitable places as the elites squabble over the remaining resources, leaving the peasants to feed on one another.

  120. 120
    JAHILL10 says:

    @eemom: This and this again.

  121. 121
    TenguPhule says:

    After all, everyone in DC knows that Dana Milbank has his finger on the pulse of ordinary Americans.

    Only in the Morgue.

  122. 122
    TenguPhule says:

    Perhaps what we need is a Midwest interpreter in a little box on the screen, emoting NYC style for the emotional reading impaired.

    They’d never get the dickslapping past the censors.

  123. 123
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Stroszek:

    There must be some terrible financial news circulating the NYTimes office, because it seems like Blow is angling for a spot on a cable net.

    I’d been assuming Blow is under pressure from the melanin-challenged suits who sign his paycheck: “But, Charleee, WE can’t demand that the Magical-Negro-in-Chief put on a big emotional performance for us to critique! That’s YOUR job, as our Token Black Friend!”

    Not that there isn’t plenty of terrible financial news liable to be circulating at the NYT (according to Gawker), or that Mr. Blow isn’t genuinely pissed about the BP disaster. But he’s a better writer than his recent columns have demonstrated.

  124. 124
    Anne Laurie says:

    @JenJen:

    I’ll take it a step further… maybe it would satisfy Maureen Dowd, et al if the President slathered oil on his body, stood atop a heap of dead pelicans BP board members, and shouted through a bullhorn.

    Fixed that for you.

  125. 125
    AxelFoley says:

    @JenJen:

    I’ll take it a step further… maybe it would satisfy Maureen Dowd, et al if the President slathered oil on his body, stood atop a heap of dead pelicans, and shouted through a bullhorn.

    She’d cream her panties at that thought.

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