Let’s play fill in the blank and guess who said this:
“The White House slapped us in the face,” says ___________________. “The White House is saying you don’t have a constituency we’re concerned about. We don’t care about you.”
It could have been from FDL or the HuffPost or a recommended Diary over at GOS or from a panel at Netroots Nation or a ‘progressive’ pundit on the teevee or Ed Shultz or that dope from The Nation who interviewed Van Jones or somebody else.
The game is to guess who. Give yourself bonus points for guessing the context behind the quote.
To play, just write down your guess and then click the “Continue reading…” link below and see if you guessed correctly.
Ready. Set. Go.
Ok. If you guessed the infamous conservative maven of deception, Richard A. Viguerie–then give yourself a cookie. And if you guessed that Viguerie was complaining about Reagan betraying the conservative movement treat yourself to a nice drink of your favorite beverage.
If you guessed the quote was about President Obama don’t be too hard on yourself. I can see how that could happen as the quote sounds like it could be said by any firebagger or progressive poutrage practitioner of our era complaining about the latest thing President Obama did or didn’t do and the latest way that Obama did not respect the ‘power’ of said firebagger or progressive poutrage practitioner.
It is not surprising that the rhetoric used by a conservative throwing a poutrage tantrum about Reagan is so similar to the poutrage rhetoric used by some on the Left to attack President Obama. Just like our current episodes of poutrage, back in 1981 Viguerie went into his hissy fit because a President was not doing the things Viguerie demanded be done in the way he thought they should be done. And so the legendary wingnut prick threw a tantrum.
It was Steve Benen who describes this “slap in the face” in a post today. He decided to dig up an article specifically mentioned in a recent Charles Krauthammer column about why Chucky fears President Obama (emphasis added):
The net effect of 18 months of Obamaism will be to undo much of Reaganism. Both presidencies were highly ideological, grandly ambitious and often underappreciated by their own side. In his early years, Reagan was bitterly attacked from his right. (Typical Washington Post headline: “For Reagan and the New Right, the Honeymoon Is Over” — and that was six months into his presidency!) Obama is attacked from his left for insufficient zeal on gay rights, immigration reform, closing Guantanamo — the list is long.
Turns out that the source of the headline is a report on conservative poutrage over Reagan nominating Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court. And while it was the odious Viguerie who was the source of the fill-in-the-black quote cited above, it could have just as easily been any so called progressive calling out President Obama. The endpoints of poutrage have found common ground in talking points.
I find this amazing in no small measure because Barack Obama has already done far more in his first 18 months than Reagan did at this point in his first term. Conservatives took on Reagan over specific battles, but basically they always trusted him. When push came to shove they always had his back. Today they have made Reagan’s record into a myth of conservative victories and Reagan into a romanticized Wingnutopia Saint (despite what actually happened).
Progressives, OTOH, have worked over time to turn an amazing chain of victories over the last 18 months into a narrative of defeat. It is a bit mind boggling to watch as so many ‘progressives’ embrace the memes, frames and talking points of the Right as they level an endless stream of attacks at the most progressive President in my lifetime. And why? Mostly because President Obama does not follow this or that preferred strategy, timing and/or set of tactics to the imagined screenplay of these armchair generals with keyboards. It is stunning to see process trump results and spin trump reality. Watching so many on the left jump at a chance to downplay the victories and inflate the outrage is like tracking an epidemic of foolishness. Useful critiques about important things are lost in the nonsensical noise about every rumor, every post, every tweet and each twist of every news cycle.
It is odd that some on the left have chosen to embrace the same attack tactics, strategies and rhetoric used by the Right when they confronted a President who is basically the champion of their POV without also embracing the way the Right always got Reagan’s back whenever it really mattered.
Meanwhile, things move on. More and more things are getting done by this White House despite the tantrums. Of course, even more could be done if some of the progressive poutrage practitioners would place action and unity over their egos, but they can’t. So it goes. Good luck with that in November.
Time will tell how the story of the Obama Administration will be told and what will be his impact on our Nation. I think it will be a good story regardless of current levels of poutrage on all sides. We shall see, but I think Steve is spot on when he said:
I guess the moral of the story is that perceptions can change in time.