Having it both ways

The latest trend in Village philosophizing seems to be “hey, I’m not one of those shallow types that thinks Obama needs to pound the podium, but let me offer my own superficial, content-free analysis of things”. This David Ignatius piece is an instant classic along those lines:

Given all the idiotic advice President Obama has gotten about what to do about the BP oil spill, I thought his Oval Office address Tuesday night had it about right. Call to arms. Three-point plan. End our energy addiction. God bless America.

I don’t know what it means to look “presidential,” but I thought it helped that Obama looked pretty stressed and serious tonight.

[…..]

I liked him better Tuesday night than I have in a while — tired, beat-up politically, but not playing to the crowd with easy put-downs of BP CEO Tony Hayward or profit-mongering Big Oil. There’s a glimmer of real leadership there, but not yet the bright beam.

Leadership is about looking stressed but serious, beat-up but not resorting to easy put downs. If George W. Bush had just looked more stressed but serious, Iraq would have gone just fine. And God forbid anyone saying anything mean about Tony.

What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

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115 replies
  1. 1

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    Proselytizing stupidity.
    A paycheck.

    SATSQs.

  2. 2

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    I got nothin’ Dougj; Nor do I know Why love have to be so sad

  3. 3
    Urza says:

    Paychecks, the answer is they have to pump out articles on a regular basis which says things that their bosses think will sell. They may or may not believe their own crap, but in the end it doesn’t matter, it all comes down to the money.

  4. 4
    asiangrrlMN says:

    There’s a lot of intertubes just waiting to be filled, and someone has to keep shoveling the crap into them. Who knows what would happen if there was a minute of silence in the blogosphere? Why, the whole interwebs could crumble. Them chickens ain’t gonna fuck themselves, DougJ.

  5. 5
    Brian J says:

    Writing stuff like that is probably easier than forming an opinion on an actual policy issue. After all, who’s to say he didn’t really look presidential? Plus, someone else polishes what you say to make the grammar perfect.

  6. 6

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    Villager is as villager does.

  7. 7
    RalfW says:

    Why do a good job when half-assed will do?

  8. 8
    Joseph Nobles says:

    At the very least, someone could consider MY arrangement of Titanic deck chairs.

  9. 9
    handy says:

    Writing stuff like that is probably easier than forming an opinion on an actual policy issue.

    Yep.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    On this:

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    Whoever required that our most prominent pundits make any sense whatsoever?

  11. 11
    Chris W says:

    It’s even worse when you read the analyses before seeing the speeches.

  12. 12
    Lev says:

    I love how Obama’s presidency is supposed to be in crisis, and yet Gallup says his approval rating is 49%, which is about where it’s been for months.

    I think the key thing here is to realize that “elite” is the new “racist”, in terms of words that nobody wants to apply to themselves. Everyone wants to be a man (or woman) of the people. The problem is that the David Ignatiuses and Chris Matthewses and David Brookses have been in the upper crust for such a long time that they don’t know diddly about what actual people feel or think or want to hear. So you get stuff like this endless wailing and gnashing of teeth about how OBAMA NEEDS TO FEEL MORE BETTER because elites who don’t actually give a shit about how Obama feels want to prove to people they don’t know and frankly don’t want to know that they, the elites, aren’t actually elites! They feel for you, er, like you!

    Of course, the villagers’ public utterances on this and the Clinton impeachment seem to indicate that they think your average American is an emotionally unstable prude, and their attitudes toward Bush seem to indicate that they think America is filled with dumb reactionaries. Neither is at all true of the Americans I know, but they are both pretty true of the Village.

  13. 13
    scarshapedstar says:

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    They’re paid by the word and aren’t very bright?

  14. 14
    Mark S. says:

    OT– To my knowledge, Daniel Foster of NRO has no advanced degrees in science of any form. Nevertheless, this idiot is proposing nuking the leak:

    I think I’ve demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt — here and here for instance — that not only is the nuclear option not crazy, it might just be our best bet.

    If you follow those links, you may be surprised that he doesn’t demonstrate anything beyond a reasonable doubt. Here is actually why he’s proposing it:

    You’re thinking that when I pitched this idea to Rich [Lowry], he leaned back in his chair, tented his fingers conspiratorially and said, “You mean we can argue that the solution to an environmental disaster is a nuclear detonation? Yes, yes that will do quite nicely.” And indeed, that is precisely what happened.

    I hope Buckley is looking up from hell proud of how shitty his magazine has become.

  15. 15
    Comrade Kevin says:

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    There are column inches to fill in the news hole.

  16. 16
    Mike G says:

    Tealiban fucktardery of the day —
    A teabagger views Google Earth image (2-3 years old) of a Kia Motors vehicle storage lot on a decommisioned airfield and hypes it as thousands of UN vehicles poised to conquer Florida in the name of their Kenyan Maoist overlord:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM3WRQljSsk

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/0.....-takeover/

    You can’t even create stupid this dense under laboratory conditions.

  17. 17
    Wag says:

    I liked him better Tuesday night than I have in a while—tired, beat-up politically, but not playing to the crowd with easy put-downs of BP CEO Tony Hayward or profit-mongering Big Oil. There’s a glimmer of real leadership there,

    there’s nothing wrong with this analysis. Obama is beginning to strike the right tone, and just like the HCR debate, once he focuses on the issue he won’t let us down. Did we get substancial HCR? Yes we did. Will the GOP try and repeal it? Only in their dreams and at the risk of losing mer seats in Congress.

    Will Obama use his bully pulpit to begin moving us down the road towards real and alternative energy independece? Yes, he will. Will the GOP oppose him at every turn and paint themselves ever more firmly into the corner with Big Oil? We can only hope so.

  18. 18
    rootless_e says:

    That article is a lot smarter than the complaints about the speech on DailyKos.

    a low bar, fer sure.

  19. 19
    Lev says:

    @rootless_e: And they’re all smarter than comments at Yahoo! News on any political story, I’m sure.

    My Lord, that place is rife with wingnuts. I would not have expected that. Admittedly these are AP articles that one would expect to slant a bit to the right, but I remember reading an article on the jobs report a few months ago and seeing the first comment as something to the effect of “I guess this means that the American Worker is foiling Obamunism!” which only had about 2100 thumbs-ups and 300 thumbs-downs.

    I have no idea what’s going on over there. Anyone have a theory?

  20. 20
    jaleh says:

    @rootless_e: @rootless_e:
    rootless
    I think dkos has been taken over by either the right-wingers or the Naderites, or maybe, both.

  21. 21
    Nick says:

    @rootless_e: DailyKos jumped the shark after yesterday’s “Fuck the miners” Bill Maher diary.

  22. 22
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @rootless_e: The complaints on the GOS are pretty stupid, but they’re not nearly all of the readership, or commenters there. For every idiot blathering on about how awful Obama is, you’ll get 10 people essentially calling them an idiot.

  23. 23
    Hal says:

    Over at Slate, Daniel Gross and John Dickerson pan the speech. No shock with Dickerson. Anything Obama does is lame to him, but Gross needs to be whipped for this paragraph:

    President Obama’s Oval Office speech about the Gulf oil spill was almost enough to make you miss President George W. Bush. Maybe not the actual presidency of George W. Bush, but at least the platonic ideal of the presidency of George W. Bush—the MBA president, the chief executive as CEO.

    Obama’s speech was so bad, it makes Gross miss the completely fictitious, take charge, CEO President Bush never was?

  24. 24
    Nick says:

    @Lev:

    I have no idea what’s going on over there. Anyone have a theory?

    America is a country of fascists and the only reason we haven’t descended into 1930s Italy is because the media needs an election to obsessed about every two years?

  25. 25
    Nick says:

    @Comrade Kevin: Kos really started falling off the cliff when Blanche Lincoln won her primary. It just seemed so unreal to them that they could lose that they just all collectively snapped.

  26. 26
    rootless_e says:

    @Lev: the country is chockablock with racist morons.

  27. 27

    @Hal:

    Maybe not the actual presidency of George W. Bush, but at least the platonic ideal of the presidency of George W. Bush—the MBA president, the chief executive as CEO.

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!? 1?!1 !

    In 2 years of crazy stupid shit, I think that might qualify as the craziest stupid shit I’ve read. And to think, we still have at least two more years of this. I mean, that’s Doughy Pantload-level crazy stupid shit.

    (I don’t count wingnut comments on news web sites, because those people don’t get paid to spew crazy stupid shit).

  28. 28
    rootless_e says:

    @Nick: Here’s something that really blew me away

    This is Kos himself:

    Perhaps letting BP lie and mismanage things wasn’t the best course of action?
    —-
    Our new Louisiana poll has a lot of data points to show how unhappy voters in the state are with Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill but one perhaps sums it up better than anything else- a majority of voters there think George W. Bush did a better job with Katrina than Obama’s done dealing with the spill.

    Fortunately someone came by a little later to point out that black and white voters in LA were not exactly seeing eye-to-eye and white voters in LA hated Obama before the spill and now were 70% in favor of drilling. But imagine accepting this spin at this fucking stage.

  29. 29
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Nick: The thing to do with that site is be very selective about what you read. I tend to not read most of the diaries there, unless there’s something specific I’m interested in. Some of the front pagers post really good stuff.

    There are a whole lot of really idiotic commenters and diarists, to be sure. It happens when a site has so many users. Have you ever looked at the official fora for World of Warcraft? They’re primarily useful for laughing at idiots.

  30. 30
    Lev says:

    @rootless_e: But why would they congregate at Yahoo! News? Shit, even Politico has a better partisan blend.

  31. 31
    fourlegsgood says:

    @rootless_e: Low bar? we’d have to dig into the earth to get under it.

    I wonder if it ever occurs to anyone in the village that Obama looks tired because he WORKS ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Ahem.

  32. 32
    GregB says:

    Here’s a still photo from the green room.

    Obama sure looks stressed.

    Ignatious win!

  33. 33
    rootless_e says:

    Here’s my favorite DKOS comment of the month

    but when you sit on the sidelines and look like you are NOT FIGHTING, that does not sit well out here. We are starting to see it. His once coalition is fractured and broken in many places. Bill Clinton whipped up on congress and the public believed him in the end. Now we can continue to say, oh well, “he could not do anything because of congress”, and it may be true, but politics and the WH is also about OPTICS and looking like you are FIGHTING for something. […]

    Ah, Bill Clinton’s legislative accomplishments, like …

    This comment was from a DKOS heavy who calls herself “icebergslim”. I got a lot of nasty comments for asking why a woman wanted to give herself the name of an abusive violent pimp.

  34. 34
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @rootless_e: If Markos was the most insightful front-pager there, I wouldn’t bother with the front page at all, ever.

  35. 35
    rootless_e says:

    : @Lev:

    ya·hoo (yäh, y-)
    n. pl. ya·hoos
    A crude or brutish person. See Synonyms at boor.

  36. 36
    AngusTheGodOfMeat says:

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    Come on, you know the answer to that. These superficial, personality-based “analyses” are easier to write than any in depth, technically researched articles about the realities of the real problems.

    This sounds off topic, but I assert that it is exactly on topic:

    Rachel Maddow pointed out in her show tonight that the oil execs being grilled on Capitol Hill did not seem to have heard of the Ixtoc spill in the Gulf in 1979, an accident that looks almost exactly like the current blowout. She was amazed that these oil guys didn’t know about Ixtoc, and therefore hadn’t learned anything from that incident.

    Well, the current news media and punditocracy haven’t learned anything either. The people doing the writing and the tv junk don’t appear to have even the most basic understandings of the technical issues, or to understand what is happening in the gulf from one day to the next. All we have gotten from these stupid assholes is day after day of whining that the spill seems to be bigger than the official figures. Really? Well, FUCK ME. Fifty days of that kind of useless bitching and moaning, and no reporters out there in the gulf looking at the operation in place, looking at the relief well drilling, understanding the overall technical plan and why it is what it is, asking questions about the preparedness of the oil companies to manage a blowout and the crisis that follows, understanding the way these operations are regulated and the way compliance is achieved … nothing useful at all, no actual reporting other than standing in front of whiny ass mayors and parish officials bitching about whatever is their own immediate thing to bitch about and whining that “something needs to be done.”

    The people running the info stream are lazy, they are incompetant, they are uninformed, they don’t do basic journalism, they don’t ask intelligent but rather obvious questions that could occur to any eighth grader …. but they can sure write about how stressed Obama looked on tv. They can do that because all they have to do is turn on the tv and sit down with a cigarette and a laptop and start typing … you know, like bloggers do. No actual work, no actual value added, no real useful information.

    It’s an example of the entire epic fail you have been talking about in the media for years. This is what a useless information media looks like when there is a crisis. This is about what happened when we ran up to war in Iraq. ABSOLUTELY FUCKING LAZY AND USELESS FUCKERS writing a bunch of useless crap.

    Just like always.

  37. 37
    mclaren says:

    What on earth could be [the] purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    I think I can actually answer this.

    The people in the media, despite some of the inane things that come out of their mouths and computer keyboards, aren’t stupid — they’re typically graduates of elite journalism schools, top-50 Ivy League overachievers, 1400-SAT students, so they’re not ignorant and they’re not fools.

    The problem for the media is that TV and newspapers/magazines live and die by audience ratings. In TV that means viewer share, in newspapers/magazines that means subscribers. If you alienate your subscriber/viewer base, you’re done. So the media find themselves constrained to serve as a mirror for the public. Whatever the public finds appealing, the TV news networks and newspapers/magazines had damn well better give the public. If journalists try to buck the public groupthink, they’ll get hammered and lose market share and eventually go out of business.

    Journalists are well aware today that most of America’s problems arise from choices we refuse to make. For example: Americans could choose to rebuild their cities for mass transit to drastically decrease our dependence on imported oil. This would entail a lot of hardship, though, and the transition would prove wrenching. Imagine the disruption: demolishing whole cities, uprooting people for the right of way to build new rail lines, relocating entire populations into temp housing… It would take decades, and everyone would find their life in total upheaval in the interim. Intermediate measures like a big increase in the gasoline tax (say, $5 per gallon) would put a huge crimp in most Americans’ lifestyle. So instead of making that tough choice, Americans opt to do nothing and that means keeping the U.S. army in Afghanistan and Iraq and other countries in the middle east with huge oil reserves. It also means we have to allow deep water drilling, whether we like it or not, regardless of BP’s blowout.

    By not making a tough choice about our dependence on foreign oil, Americans have in effect made a choice. The journalists know this. They also know that if they hammer the American people about it, Americans will react the way voters did to Jimmy Carter, who unwisely told Americans a bunch of things they didn’t want to hear. Newspapers who try to take that tack will lose circulation and disappear: TV news networks that try that approach will go broke and vanish.

    So journalists find themselves forced to say something about the incredible set of crises besetting America right now, but journalists know damn well they can’t report anything that actually deals with the causes of these crises — because the cause is that the American people refuse to make tough choices about our oil addiction, about our health care system, about outsourcing all our high-skill high-wage jobs overseas, about our ever-growing balance of payments problem with China, about our dependency on one-passenger cars, about our hopeless addiction to a massive military-industrial complex that pisses away more than a trillion dollar a years yet can no longer win wars, about the relentless growth of corporate power, about the disappearance of the rule of law.

    Americans could solve all these multiple crises tomorrow. Americans could end the unsustainability marathon we’re running instantly, if we wanted to.

    But doing so would create huge upheavals in our society.

    To end our dependence on foreign oil we would have to knock down and rebuild our cities and our suburbs. We don’t want to do that — it’s just too much hassle.

    To fix our broken health care system, we would have to shut down the AMA and unleash the hounds of antitrust hell on doctors and medical devicemakers and hospitals and insurance companies, and in the process we’d have to drastically lower the income of American doctors (who make 2 to 4 times what doctors in France and Germany and Spain make) and lower the income of overpaid radiological technicians and ICU nurses and medical device salespeople. Many millions of Americans make a very lucrative living by leeching off our grotesquely broken health care system, so no one wants to do that — it would disrupt too many lives.

    To fix our outsourcing of high-skilled jobs overseas, we would have to dismantle and totally overhaul our broken college system and add a huge apprenticeship program for people who want to learn skilled professions (like CNC numerical machining) but aren’t suited to getting a 4-year degree. But America’s college system is set up as a hurdle which lets those who get into the Ivy League write themselves a golden ticket, and everyone thinks they’re going to win that lottery (though only about 10% ever do) so no one wants to dismantle that class-based sieving process.

    To fix our ever-growing balance of payments problem with China, America would have to cut its military by 80% and massively overhaul our broken medical-industrial complex and stop pissing away fantastic amounts of money on worthless crap like 50 inch flatscreen TVs assembled in China. Americans absolutely positively refuse to do that, so the balance of payments crisis with China just keeps getting worse.

    To fix America’s dependency on single-passenger cars, electric cars or hydrogen vehicles won’t cut it so we’d have to tear up our freeways and build light rail systems and shut down the distant suburbs and get most people commuting using mopeds. But once again that would massively disrupt everyone’s lives and riding around on a little putt-putting moped makes you feel like a peon instead of the king of the road, so Americans refuse to do that.

    Cutting our military expenditures from more than a trillion dollars a year to 300 billion a year would eliminate America’s ability to intimidate other countries into signing grossly unfair treaties like ACTA and that would destroy the only real remaining source of income America has left now that we’ve offshored all our manufacturing and outsourced all our skilled labor — namely, intellectual property, meaning movies and TV shows and pop music and software. But Americans know that if we did that, we’d immediately collapse into third world status because Intellectual Property is the only real viable income source America has left. We’d also find ourselves at the bottom of the totem pole, unable to force other countries to sell us cheap oil. So we refuse to do that, and to maintain the status quo, we need a big stick with which to threaten other countries into selling us their oil dirt cheap (gasoline in America costs about half what it costs in Europe) and keep paying for our movies and TV shows and pop music and software, instead of just pirating the hell out of all of it and getting it for free.

    America could rein in our out-of-control giant monopoly corporations tomorrow — but we know that if we did that, American businesses would be eaten alive by the gigantic predatory corporate monsters in China (state-supported strategic industries) and South Korea (chaebols) and Japan (keiretsus) that would move right in and wipe out our market share by using tactics like dumping and unfair price cuts and sweetheart contracts and lock-in crony-capital deals (exactly the kind of unfair competition our monopoly industries use against them so effectively — Microsoft forcing every computer manufacturer to include Windows 7 on every new computer, etc.). And Americans don’t want to watch our businesses get gobbled up by foreign competitors, so we refuse to do anything about the unrestrained growth of American corporate power.

    And lastly there’s the disappearance of the rule of law — which Americans could end tomorrow if we really wanted to. But Americans know that this would mean we’d have to let some terrorists go because we wouldn’t have enough evidence to try ’em in a court of law in front of a jury, and we just can’t tolerate that, so we’d rather shred the constitution and wipe our ass on the bill of rights.

    Journalists aren’t stupid. They know all this. They can’t say it, because their readership and viewership would subject ’em to such a sh*tstorm of hate and vituperation, their newspaper would TV network would be driven out of business in a week.

    So journalists do the only thing they have left to do…natter on about irrelevancies. It’s a lot like the people who wrote for Pravda during the Brezhnev years of the USSR. The Pravda reporters knew they couldn’t actually tell the truth, and say “Our apparatchik masters are presiding over a failed system that can’t provide even the most basic consumer goods like toilet paper or decent housing to the Russian people, so the solution is to tear our whole system down and give up on communism.” So instead the Pravda reporters had to satisfy themselves by nattering on about the inadequacies of Brezhnev’s latest 5-year plan, or the corruption in the Soviet construction industry, instead of talking about the real problems that no one could discuss in public.

    Like the Soviets under Brezhnev, Americans can’t discuss our real problems in public. It sends people into a tailspin of despair. It makes them break down and cry. They panic and say crazy things like “There’s no way to fix this,” or “The American people would never stand for that,” when what we really mean is: it would cause a huge amount of disruption in everybody’s lives that no one wants to countenance.

    So instead the journalists spew this kind of irrelevant trivia. When you can’t talking about the giant elephant in the rooms that’s crushing everyone’s feet and smashing the furniture, you talk instead about how shoddy the quality of furniture is nowadays and the urgent need for more foot doctors.

  38. 38
    Martin says:

    This whole episode makes me want to move to a cabin in Montana and mail bombs to people.

  39. 39
    Citizen_X says:

    @Hal: I don’t know which is worse, the Bright Beam of Leadership, or “the platonic ideal of the presidency of George W. Bush,” but I’m about to take a bright beam upside somebody’s head.

  40. 40
    Mike G says:

    whiny ass mayors and parish officials bitching about whatever is their own immediate thing to bitch about and whining that “something needs to be done.”

    That is, inbetween bitching about “Big Government” and “soshulism” and “taxes”.

  41. 41
    Comrade Kevin says:

    I see ThymeZone mentioned Rachel Maddow. She has had, hands down, the absolute best coverage on television of this whole thing, in particular about the impact it will have on the coastal communities, and how the news media, in general, have been ignoring the complete incompetence of the ongoing “cleanup” effort.

    She has spent significant time talking to scientific experts who have laid out the likely impact of this environmental disaster to those coastal communities, and what it will do to the Gulf of Mexico in general.

    For someone who isn’t trained as a journalist, she’s doing a hell of a better job than most of the idiots on television.

  42. 42
    cokane says:

    Because looking up facts and data takes work and ugh… thinking. It’s so much easier to just talk about your feelings.

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    I’ve spent the better part of 2 mornings deriding some comments made by my (normally) favourite fun morning show, the Stephanie Miller show. When the 2 guys on there keep calling Obama a corporate shill, a pure corporatist and then everyone concern troll haz sads because he’s doomed to being a 1-termer because his base has no more love for him. It’s been the very definition of frustrating to listen to the clear solutions Obama is not doing. Things like being in command and not denouncing Kent Salazar, because many presidents have called their standing chiefs morons in public. Plus him trying to allay fears for vacationers is wrong, and eating the shrimp is wrong. And he should be pushing alternative energy. But even how he is doing that is wrong. And in such small portions. I give up. I have never seen anything quite like the Royal ProgWhiner Firing Squad: So Pure, It’s Ineffective From Day 1. No wonder Reagan didn’t encourage public fighting, it’s people I disagree with who think calling their president a shill isn’t affecting how the base see him.
    Morons all.

    @rootless_e:

    I found the name to be rather inappropriate for a progressive site and doubly so for a woman. But I’ve never bothered to open a KOS account. I only read it for some analysis when it first started and I’ve avoided it except for blackwaterdog and green kos stuff after it turned into “why isn’t calling Obama a shill, milquetoast, corporatist sell-out, a mistake, weak, etc not valid criticism to you” became the meme of the decade.

  44. 44

    @mclaren:
    serious tl;dr there man. You should start your own blog for that stuff.

  45. 45

    @Comrade Kevin:

    For someone who isn’t trained as a journalist, she’s doing a hell of a better job than most of the idiots on television.

    You can sometimes get that from a Rhodes Scholar who has a Ph.D. in politics from Oxford.

    Funny how that works.

  46. 46
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    She has had, hands down, the absolute best coverage on television of this whole thing, in particular about the impact it will have on the coastal communities, and how the news media, in general, have been ignoring the complete incompetence of the ongoing “cleanup” effort.

    Yes. And exactly one CNN reporter who went out and looked at the relief drilling operation … fascinating, really, actual reporting and news and information. I think CNN put the kibosh on that after one day last week. Probably too confusing to viewers who wanted to turn on the tv and find out if Obama was using the word “ass” yet, or whether Mary Matalin was approving of the way the non Cheney government was responding. Or whatever the fuck stupid crap they are focussing on every day.

    It’s our info stream, and I don’t think it gets better until we demand better info. Settling for the useless shit that these lazy turds are doing is just perpetuating the problem. They are doing what amounts to showing the traffic cam all day and bitching about all the traffic. Gosh, where are all those cars going, Virgil? Jesus H Christ NMYM. Live shots of the oil bubbling out of the pipe? After fifteen minutes, what useful information is that conveying to anyone? At all? Turn it off, and get on the phone and do some goddammed reporting. Not gotcha interviews, real reporting. How do you drill a relief well? Why did it take Red Adair and ten months to get a relief well to work at Ixtoc? Isn’t that a realistic expectation now? If so, why are we not mounting a surface war against the oil slick from LA to FL night and day?

  47. 47
    The Dangerman says:

    @Mark S.:

    I think I’ve demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt — here and here for instance — that not only is the nuclear option not crazy, it might just be our best bet.

    Please tell me that this is some sick attempt at humor; they aren’t REALLY proposing to nuke the top of the well. Nobody could be that fucking stupid. Could they?

    Hold the fucking phone; last night, I was reading the solutions to our troubles was to default on the debt. And that was serious (and seriously braindead, but the article was published in a reasonably mainstream journal).

    I’m flashing back to the movie “Ruthless People”; one scene, late in the movie, where the police are coming to the realization that they may be dealing with the stupidest person in the world. This shit is that stupid. Unbelievable.

  48. 48
    Mike Kay says:

    “but not playing to the crowd with easy put-downs of BP CEO Tony Hayward or profit-mongering Big Oil.”

    This tells you ALL you need to know about David Ignatius — his only concern was the fee fee of BIG fucking oil; nothing about the environment or working class in the Gulf.

  49. 49
    JMY says:

    Calling Obama a corporate-shill is the funniest thing ever because CEO’s of these big corporations hate him. Ask the CEO’s of Wall St. if they think he’s a shill.

  50. 50
    Mike Kay says:

    @Nick: what was that about?

  51. 51
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Ann Compton said on BBC Radio (an interview done while she was in the White House) that Obama was planning to announce that BP was 48 hours away from being able to capture 90% of the oil from the leak, and the new assessment of oil flow two hours before the speech totally trashed that. He Cannot Catch A Break on this.

  52. 52
    Mike Kay says:

    @JMY: yes. but remember the left wing fetishets of the public option said HCR was a corporate giveaway, which therefore made Obama a corportist. I know it’s annoying, but then again there were millions who said “there is no difference btwn Bush and Gore”.

  53. 53
    The Dangerman says:

    The most amazing thing about this entire fucking episode is we are wandering so completely in the unknown.

    No one really knows how much oil is spewing.

    No one really knows how long it will take to stop it with a relief well.

    My personal favorite: When the hurricanes come, will the oil help to warm the waters of the gulf, thus causing larger hurricanes? What will happen when water contaminated with oil (dispersant) is sent through the storm surge and winds over hundreds and hundreds of square miles? With the economy on the verge of a double dip, this is twilight zone stuff.

    Shit, I picked the wrong day to stop drinking.

  54. 54
    jwb says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay: Except there is no real way to demand better, except to refuse what’s being offered. But if you refuse what’s being offered, that simply raises the concentration of crazy that continues watching what’s being offered, so the panicked media drifts toward making sure they are not chasing away those crazies who are still watching.

    It’s a slow death spiral for the MSM to be sure, but about the only hope is that at some point one of the major outlets gets seriously desperate and makes a play for those who have checked out; otherwise I think things just continue getting worse until all the media outlets completely convert to low cost production of opinion and/or political entertainment.

  55. 55
    Mike Kay says:

    @Lev:

    I love how Obama’s presidency is supposed to be in crisis, and yet Gallup says his approval rating is 49%, which is about where it’s been for months.

    That’s simply amazing, when you stop and consider we have ten percent unemployment.

    I’m old enough to remember when unemployment hit eleven percent in 1982 and reagan’s approval ratings slumped to low 30s. And reagan didn’t have an entire propaganda apparatus defaming him and sliming him 24/7.

  56. 56
    goatchowder says:

    What’s the purpose of writing these? That’s easy: because they can. We’re humans, we have languages, we use them, it’s fun to hear ourselves talk. Blah blah blah.

    The bigger question, the important question, the question that screams to be answered, rather, is this:

    Why do people get PAID to write this kind of horseshit?

    And not just paid, but gangsta-style gettin’ PAID, like six fucking figures, to blither on and say nothing, which any moron can and does do?

  57. 57
    lenn23 says:

    @Mike Kay: And now it seems like he has two networks against him if you count Olberman as the prime mover of MSNBC.

  58. 58
    jwb says:

    @The Dangerman: Yes, I believe they are that stupid, and just be happy that we don’t have a President McCain in office because I’m sure he would have already attempted to go nuclear. The stupidest thing about the idea is that, as I understand it anyway, they would have to drill a hole down pretty much to the bottom of the well in order to properly place the nuclear device. That is, they would have to more or less drill a relief well. IIRC from the discussion on the Oil Drum, the reason the Soviets used the nuclear devices was that they didn’t have the technology to accurately intersect the blown out well with the relief well.

  59. 59
    Mike Kay says:

    @rootless_e: Kos should try to win something (Dean, Edwards, Lamont, Halter) before offering anyone advice.

  60. 60
    Mike Kay says:

    Okay, I didn’t see the speech, but I’m watching the coverage on Nightline (right now), and it’s stunningly positive. And clips and sound bites they uses are outstanding.

  61. 61
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @Mike Kay: You’re right. I mean, Barack Obama lost, big time, in 2008. Kos has never backed a winner, EVAR.

  62. 62
    steve says:

    but politics and the WH is also about OPTICS and looking like you are FIGHTING for something.

    man i can’t stand it when people use ‘optics’ when they mean ‘appearances’. dumb, trendy business jargon that escaped into politics.

    anyway i thought politics and the white house were supposed to be about implementing good policies, not just looking good.

  63. 63
    JMY says:

    @Mike Kay:

    He can’t win. I’ve completely tuned out Kos, FDL, Olbermann, & others because it’s panic mode everyday. 18 months into the presidency and they are ready to primary him or stay at home in 2012. For what? To prove a point? That your screams will no longer be ignored? And if that were to happen I would love to see the looks on their faces and read their diaries when a Republican WH ran by Sarah Palin and a Republican Congress set us back to Jim Crow and women no longer having rights.

  64. 64
    lenn23 says:

    @JMY: That’s what I don’t understand. What is their endgame? By tearing down this man who do they expect to replace him? It really feels like 2000 all over again to me.

  65. 65
    Mike Kay says:

    @Comrade Kevin: During the primary he SAID his favorite candidate was Edwards and 2nd favorite was Dodd.

    ahahahhahahahahhah

    that’s still funny. They should put that in bronze;

    Heh!

  66. 66
    Mike Kay says:

    @JMY: shorter nadernerds: “I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!

  67. 67
    Yutsano says:

    @JMY:

    And if that were to happen I would love to see the looks on their faces and read their diaries when a Republican WH ran by Sarah Palin and a Republican Congress set us back to Jim Crow and women no longer having rights.

    You just summed up right-wing frustration in a nutshell right there. They are already fully aware they can’t stuff those genies back in their respective bottles. Try and get them to seriously eliminate Social Security or Medicare. They won’t do it. Why? Because they are too ingrained in our social fabric. By the time health care truly hits, it will already be seen as a given that kids get covered until 26 and Medicaid covers the poor no matter what. It will be a part of the story of us, and all that will change is some of the nibbling of the edges, which as we’ve seen with SS and Medicare always includes expansions. They can’t stop social change, so they try to make social change sound scary, even though societies change and adapt as they grow and decay. It kinda sucks to be on the downside of a demographic trend. But no one is forcing them to stay there.

  68. 68
    Eric U. says:

    I really don’t understand my fellow Dems well at all. I’m not an Obot, and I wasn’t a real big fan of Clinton. I did like Carter a lot. But I have observed the Dems tearing all of those presidents down. As they did to LBJ and Truman. FDR and Kennedy escaped getting the treatment somehow.

    I’m fairly satisfied with Obama. His administration probably could have done better here and there, but I expect a sub-optimal performance from even the best possible team. It really is hard work, that is one area where I can agree with GWBush.

  69. 69
    steve says:

    Shit, I picked the wrong day to stop drinking.

    it’s Always the wrong day to stop drinking.

  70. 70
    lenn23 says:

    @Eric U.: I really didn’t think it would be this bad. Kennedy would not fare too well in this environment.

  71. 71
    fucen tarmal says:

    a speech is just a speech…you put the meat, the detail out online…but the real point is, no one fucking understands energy policy, don’t believe me? look at our fucking energy policy.

  72. 72
    DougB says:

    Digby, thought the speech sucked eggs.

  73. 73
    Mike Kay says:

    Halperin is on charlie rose calling the republicans “childish”. What turned him around?

  74. 74
    Yutsano says:

    @Mike Kay: Obama promised he could be first to get bent over.

    Wait did I just say that out loud?

  75. 75
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Eric U.: Kennedy got the reverse treatment. Instead of being remembered as a die-hard cold warrior, he became the only one who _would have_ done all the Good Things LBJ did, without all the Bad Things. (All civil rights, no Vietnam, for two.) He basically didn’t get to live long enough to be a disappointment.

    I’ve never been that keen on Kennedy, frankly.

  76. 76
    Mike Kay says:

    @Eric U.:

    FDR and Kennedy escaped getting the treatment somehow.

    FDR did have alot of trouble with the “populists”, after all, Huey Long did intend to primary FDR in ’36, before he walked into one his henchman’s bullets.

    JFK didn’t inherit two wars, a great depression, an oil spill, and a frustrated democratic party that had been out of power for 14 years. so many issues equals a lot of fights.

  77. 77
    SRW1 says:

    What on earth could be purpose of these kinds of analyses? Why do people write them?

    Kind of like ‘Publish or perish’.

    And as asiangrrlMN @4 said, there’s a lot of intertubes to be filled.

  78. 78

    @JMY:

    If Palin or someone similar won in 2012, it could be better in the sense of things needing to get worse in order to get better.

    As it is, there is deep systemic corruption in the US government, including Obama, but people don’t see it. So it might need to get even deeper for people see it.

    America is probably the most corrupt of the developed democratic countries, yet it carries on as if it is the great shining light of the world.

  79. 79
    lenn23 says:

    @Martin Gifford: Oh great! Something to look forward to!

  80. 80
    Mike Kay says:

    @Martin Gifford: that’s what the commies said when they elected Hitler.

    funny how the fat far left maoist sounds like the far right rapturist: “we must hasten the end times!”

  81. 81
    Xenos says:

    @mclaren:

    Like the Soviets under Brezhnev, Americans can’t discuss our real problems in public. It sends people into a tailspin of despair. It makes them break down and cry. They panic and say crazy things like “There’s no way to fix this,” or “The American people would never stand for that,” when what we really mean is: it would cause a huge amount of disruption in everybody’s lives that no one wants to countenance.

    Another example is the ancillary characters in a Chekov play, such the doddering uncle in ‘Three Sisters’, sitting in the corner reading newspapers and repeatedly calling out ‘What is to be done?’. Everybody knows the system as a whole is fucked and all the immediate drama is just a distraction. A new order is being born, and it is ugly as hell.

    The alternative is a series of reforms that will hurt the most those people who consider themselves successful and worthy of the blessings they have. The reaction of such people can be worse than the long drift into decrepitude.

  82. 82
    fucen tarmal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    me, neither, but because the name drives the conservatards into pavlovian ranting, i have come to appreciate at least that much.

  83. 83
    stuckinred says:

    Meanwhile Mornin Joe and Mika liked the speech and are supportive of the prez. . . amazing.

  84. 84
    ronin122 says:

    @rootless_e: IBS from what I gather from all her diaries is that she’s either a concern troll or a Clinton supporter that didn’t go full-metal PUMA. All she does is whine and bitch about something concerning the administration without really saying how they can do better. Whatever, it’s half the reason I only read something topical that’s not editorial in nature.

  85. 85
    fucen tarmal says:

    @stuckinred:

    this is too much bizarro world…at 6:25 am east coast time; good-bye sober day.

  86. 86
    stuckinred says:

    @fucen tarmal: I’ve been gone from FDL for four months and this morning exactly the same people are doing the same whining and bitching that were when I left.

  87. 87
    bkny says:

    modo:

    But he misses the point. Nobody needs to see the president yelling or pounding the table.

    uh, wasn’t that just what she was calling for a couple of weeks ago…

    it’s all theatre to the village magpies — what he’s wearing, the backdrop (how many mentions of ‘this is the first time he’s used the oval office’), the facial expressions, the hand gestures. it’s a broadway show…

  88. 88

    I am shocked to see that “analysis” of Obama’s press event on the Gulf oil spill is at the top of the charts on Memeorandum. Glad I have limited access to “news” while I am still out backpacking and fishing. Apparently a stern daddy is what we need in this country but the Black Jimmy Carter just won’t do it right.

    Now back to real life for me.

  89. 89
    Quiddity says:

    I wonder how many commenters here liked the substance of Obama’s speech. Especially where he didn’t declare what he himself wanted in an energy & climate bill, but did indicate that he would sign whatever Congress puts on his desk (if it gets that far). [ref: Chait “Basically, he’s saying he just wants some kind of bill. “, Drum “Obama wants a bill. Pretty much any bill will do.”]

  90. 90
    brokenwolf says:

    Well said McClaren… Look at the Netherlands for transportation. I really don’t think it would be all that bad. I live in a rural area in North Carolina and work in the city. It would take me an hour to make it to my job via mass transit and a bike. When I was in Utrecht on a visit, the only overweight people I saw were United States citizens… that would help with the health care plan as well. I’m 58 years old. Biking might help me make it to my 80s and still be in good shape.

  91. 91
    Georgia Pig says:

    I don’t know why you pick that particular piece, because it isn’t that bad in comparison to others I’ve seen, and it does indicate that Obama may have achieved something with the speech. Ignatius talks about the content of the speech at about the level of detail of the speech itself. So what he adds a few atmospherics? Isn’t one point of the speech to be atmospheric?

    The reality is that the damage is already done, and won’t be undone by some magical presidential gesture. Obama has to lower expectations without acting like he doesn’t care and without copping a morally superior attitude a la Jimmy Carter with his sweaters and malaise. The marshes in Lousiana are going to get oiled, and we’re going to have a big impact on the Gulf fisheries. We’re not going to get a new energy economy overnight because we have a Congress that just isn’t there. Maybe it will sink in after the well is plugged — maybe. Obama can’t do much to make that happen. The addict has to admit to the consequences of his addiction before he can seek recovery.

    Listening to cable twits talk about making this like WWII made me wonder what these guys actually know about WWII. There were myriad fuckups in WWII that cost thousands of lives (SNAFU comes from WWII). The fuckups in the oil response sound pretty much like the ones my Dad experienced when he was in the Marines in the Pacific, they’re the kind of shit that happens when you try to something really big really fast. Go over to the Oil Drum and get a sense of the complexity and danger involved in processing the oil from the blowout. We’ll be lucky if one of the processing ships doesn’t explode, taking two or three others with it. That could easily happen.

  92. 92
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Quiddity:

    this could be seen as respecting the limits of executive power, or have i just become quaint.

  93. 93
    demo woman says:

    The President gave a speech and what happened? Nothing. The oil is still spilling, it’s still hot in Atlanta and folks are still bitching. The Celtics lost (also too) so that must mean something.

  94. 94
    brantl says:

    @Joseph Nobles: FOR THE WIN!

  95. 95
    stuckinred says:

    @Georgia Pig: You, my friend, hit the nail on the head.

  96. 96
    Nick says:

    @Comrade Kevin: Oh please, Kos came late to that game

  97. 97
    Jamie says:

    well, the damage is still being done. the problem is there is very little anyone can do about it.

  98. 98
    Terrell says:

    @Comrade Kevin:

    Kos did not support Obama in the primaries. In Kos’ wisdom he supported the now infamous Edwards.

  99. 99
    Nick says:

    @Mike Kay: Apparently Bill Maher said on this show to coal miners, oil workers, and loggers “Fuck your jobs” in response to the argument that we can’t get stop drilling, mining or logging because people would lose their jobs.

    And 75% of the comments in the diary consisted of “That’s right Bill! Fuck these jobs! These people should get new ones. They’re monsters”

    and all of a sudden DKos stopped caring about working families. As if miners, loggers and rig workers get up in the morning and take pride in destroying the earth! Most of them are doing what they’re doing because they NEED A JOB, not because they have a desire to destroy the planet and kill pelicans.

  100. 100
    Terrell says:

    @JMY:

    He can’t win. I’ve completely tuned out Kos, FDL, Olbermann, & others because it’s panic mode everyday. 18 months into the presidency and they are ready to primary him or stay at home in 2012. For what? To prove a point? That your screams will no longer be ignored? And if that were to happen I would love to see the looks on their faces and read their diaries when a Republican WH ran by Sarah Palin and a Republican Congress set us back to Jim Crow and women no longer having rights.

    Excellent point. I truly don’t understand people on the left. Are they this politically naive? Do they not remember what happened in 1980 when Kennedy primaried Carter?

    Who needs FoxNews when you have dailykos, FDL and now apparently even Olbermann and Rachel Maddow? I guess I will stop watching cable TV for a while.

  101. 101
    stuckinred says:

    @Terrell: Ever see the “If you are not outraged you are not paying attention” bumper sticker? It’s endless, people have talked themselves into the idea that being “critical” is noble. I personally blame English professors.

  102. 102
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @DougB:

    Digby, thought the speech sucked eggs.

    Ma nishtana….

  103. 103
    Nick says:

    HAHAHA, Epic win. Our local Fox affillate did a poll on Obama’s handling of the oil spill.

    48% Good
    40% Satisfactory
    12% Poor

    Out of 1700 votes.

  104. 104
    Ash Can says:

    @Nick: Uh-oh. Some news producers’ heads are going to get served up on platters over that.

  105. 105
    kay says:

    @Quiddity:

    I wonder how many commenters here liked the substance of Obama’s speech. Especially where he didn’t declare what he himself wanted in an energy & climate bill, but did indicate that he would sign whatever Congress puts on his desk (if it gets that far)

    Obama doesn’t promise what he can’t deliver. This actually is his style. The people who want him to use aspirational rhetoric to up the stakes are going to continue to be disappointed. He’s giving you a hard-headed idea of what he thinks he can get through Congress. I know there is an absolute belief that he would get more if he promised more, but I’m not sure I buy that, and it’s clear that he doesn’t buy it.
    He’s giving a realistic estimate on what he may actually be able to deliver, with the Congress he has and the public he has. I know that isn’t inspiring, but there it is.

  106. 106
    brantl says:

    @Martin Gifford: Nothing gets sold without the marketing, NEH?

  107. 107

    @Quiddity:

    Especially where he didn’t declare what he himself wanted in an energy & climate bill, but did indicate that he would sign whatever Congress puts on his desk (if it gets that far).

    Hmm. I didn’t get that from the speech at all. He said “All of these approaches have merit, and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead.”

    Those numbskulls must have forgotten the meeting he had with Congressional Republicans where he smacked down all their idiotic ideas about HCR a few months back. A hearing doesn’t mean “I’ll take whatever you give me.”

    And, FWIW, whatever they give him will still be better than status quo.

  108. 108
    brantl says:

    @Nick: And this is what is wrong with McClaren, here, “this can all be changed instantly”; no, it fucking CAN’T, BUT WE NEED TO START CHANGING IT, OR IT CAN’T EVER GET FINISHED. I’m not yelling at you, but we certainly need to be moving away from those jobs ASAP, don’t we? And we’re not.

    Obama’s trying to make lemonade, when he’s been dealt a shitload of lemons; perfectly reasonable, given the circumstances, but he should also be looking to knock the guy up ‘aside the head that ordered all the goddamn lemons, too.

  109. 109
    kay says:

    @Quiddity:

    I think it’s part of the reason he didn’t respond with rhetoric to the flowing oil. He knows he can’t fix it. He can’t deliver. He can’t match that sort of rhetoric to reality.

    He doesn’t tell you what he’s going to try. He tells you what he’s going to do.

    I see that this is a problem for those who want him to set the higher aspiration, with the idea that he’s negotiating from there, but that probably isn’t the reality in Congress, so he’s not going to do it.

  110. 110

    Shorter Villager punditry/Prog WATBs: We’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is … moar bully pulpit!

    ETA:

    Obama’s trying to make lemonade, when he’s been dealt a shitload of lemons shit.

    Fixd for accuracy.

  111. 111
    Steeplejack says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    I thought he made a lot of good points.

  112. 112
    Uloborus says:

    @Quiddity:
    I didn’t expect specifics in this speech. It was a general cheerleading message to the public. It talked about priorities, it let the average person know that he’s not just sitting on his thumbs. It’s not the kind of speech I personally like, but it has its value. Specifics are for when he’s in Professor Mode. All he wanted to do here was give the renewable power screw another twist. Instead of pushing it hard all at once, he tries for a pro-green power bump every time he sees an opportunity.

    Personally, I can’t figure out how he thinks he can get BP to foot the bill for a long-term recovery, including economic, plan. But if he can pull it off, I’ll scatter god damn rose petals in his path.

  113. 113
    liberal says:

    @mclaren:

    To fix our broken health care system, we would have to shut down the AMA and unleash the hounds of antitrust hell on doctors and medical devicemakers and hospitals and insurance companies, and in the process we’d have to drastically lower the income of American doctors (who make 2 to 4 times what doctors in France and Germany and Spain make) and lower the income of overpaid radiological technicians and ICU nurses and medical device salespeople. Many millions of Americans make a very lucrative living by leeching off our grotesquely broken health care system, so no one wants to do that—it would disrupt too many lives.

    Thanks for not pretending that the only cost issue is that of health insurance.

  114. 114
    liberal says:

    @fucen tarmal:
    Right. The president has no power to suggest, via rhetoric or arm-twisting, what Congress might legislate. All he can do is passively veto or not veto.

    Better O-bots, please.

  115. 115
    liberal says:

    @JMY:

    Ask the CEO’s of Wall St. if they think he’s a shill.

    He is more or less a shill vis-a-vis the banks. Sure, not as bad as some other politicians, but pretty bad.

    The fact that the idiots on Wall Street think he’s the enemy just shows that…they’re idiots. We’re talking about people who couldn’t see an $8T housing bubble. And not just idiots, entitled idiots.

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