The Problem We All Live With…

Last month Ruby Bridges came to the White House. She was there to see Norman Rockwell’s painting of her hung in a hallway that leads into the Oval Office. This is what Barack Obama passes everyday when moving in and out of his office:

The Problem We All Live With painting in WH

There is something celebratory about Ruby Bridges standing next to our Nation’s first Black President and viewing a depiction of an ugly moment of her childhood that made her into a icon of courage for the ages. You can watch her talk about that moment here.

And yet, there is a bit of sadness when one considers how far we still have to go to confront racism in America. For it is racism and the fear of losing white privilege that animates most of the Tea Party and–I would say–most of the irrational rage at all things Obama. Others will disagree (especially those suffering from Obama derangement syndrome), but nothing I have seen in the last three years has led me to questions this view.

Racism is a fact of life for this President. It is just another thing to overcome. And something that can never be far from Barack Obama’s mind. Every time he walks to his desk he passes this image of courage in the face of hate and the word “Nigger” scrawled on the wall.

I’ll think about that the next time some dumb ass whines about how weak he is or how he doesn’t give a shit about progressive values.

Cheers






251 replies
  1. 1
    Ash Can says:

    Great post, dengre. As usual.

  2. 2
    patrick II says:

    Every time he puts advancing the social security retirement age on the table I will give him all the progressive respect he deserves, white or black. Obama is a great man, but I can still get pissed off at him white or black.

  3. 3
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Waiting for the usual wingnut suspects to declare Norman Rockwell a radical in 3,2,1….

  4. 4
    Brian R. says:

    Well said.

  5. 5
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    {sniff}

  6. 6
    Corner Stone says:

    Interesting post until the non sequitur last sentence.

  7. 7
    boss bitch says:

    Racism is a fact of life for this President. It is just another thing to overcome.

    This is true and that’s why I was pissed to hear that someone at a CBC town hall in Miami had the gall to shout whether the president ‘knows racism’.

  8. 8
    boss bitch says:

    @patrick II:

    No one is telling you to hold back criticism because he’s Black.

  9. 9
    zmulls says:

    It’s pretty stunning to me that the President passes this every day. Aside from the symbolism of the moment it depicts.

    The “n-word” has become such a hot button. You can’t say it, can’t play it on the radio, it’s worse than f**k to some people. And there’s the ongoing right-wing talking point that “black people can say it, why can’t I?”

    Now everyone who visits the President will see it.

    I’m not disagreeing with the placement of the picture (important part of our history, Norman Rockwell, symbol of how far we’ve come to our first African-American President, important to not forget how recent it was, etc.) — but it is striking to picture Obama walking past it every day.

  10. 10
    Desdemona says:

    The courage and grace of people like Ruby Bridges is truly humbling. Thanks for the beautiful post, Dennis.

  11. 11
    Montysano says:

    For it is racism and the fear of losing white privilege that animates most of the Tea Party and—I would say—most of the irrational rage at all things Obama. Others will disagree…

    … but they would be wrong, because there’s simply no other explanation.

    I catch a few minutes of Mark Levin on my drive home, and with Obama on vacation, it’s all dog-whistle all the time: “Lazy”, “arrogant”, “spending millions on a non-stop party”. It’s stomach-churning stuff.

  12. 12
    moonbat says:

    Thank you for this post, dengre.

  13. 13
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Well, Norman Rockwell was a liberal and progressive. In his day, he was a radical. But his day job was doing illustration work and he provided what his bosses wanted. But every so often he did his own thing, following his own light. (I heart Norman Rockwell.)

  14. 14
    mcd410x says:

    Trolling one’s own post is intellectually lazy.

  15. 15
    aimai says:

    I tremble at what he and Michelle endure knowing that their daughters face the same racism and anger–even if they are protected from experiencing it on a daily basis. Obama and Michelle know that their daughters walk by that picture every day too–and are reminded of the reality that the struggle that Ruby bridges faced isn’t over, not by a long shot. I think that hanging it there is more than a reminder, for Obama, of someone else’s struggle. I think he and Michelle are thinking of their daughters and their role in the ongoing fight.

    aimai

  16. 16
    Unabogie says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    I once went to see an exhibit of his work. I was struck by how loose and “painterly” it was, since when you shrink it down to magazine size it so looks so finely rendered. Not only was he a great artist, but also a great craftsman.

  17. 17
    Bulworth says:

    @Montysano: Ah, talk radio. Lifting the national discourse, as always.

  18. 18

    Great post Dennis G.! Especially the truthful last sentence.

  19. 19
    Danny says:

    Great post!

  20. 20
    Mino says:

    I just saw photos of the MLK monument. When I read about the concept, I thought it sounded great, but I can’t say I think it’s very good as sculpture and what’s with the body English?

  21. 21
    Zifnab says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Waiting for the usual wingnut suspects to declare Norman Rockwell a radical in 3,2,1….

    In all fairness, he kinda was. He just happened to be the kind of radical we could use more of.

  22. 22
    lamh32 says:

    I posted a comment awhile back with video from the WH with Ruby Bridges talking about the scene in this picture.

    Aside from being AA, Ms Bridges hold a special place in my mind because I am a native N’awlinian (now in DFW for 6 years this Sept, but I still don’t consider myself a Texan) but also because I lived all my life before Katrina in the 9th/lower 9th ward. My family all still live in the 9th ward, and a number of my family members actually attended Frantz elementary (obviously after integration thanks to Ms Bridges) as children.

    Here is the video: Ruby Bridges visits with the President and her portrait

    BTW, do yourselves a favor and check out the wikipedia page form Ms Bridges. The section about her family’s time during the time at Frantz is an interesting read.

  23. 23
    Violet says:

    I love Norman Rockwell’s paintings. This one is tremendous. And that the president has hung it where he sees it every day, as does anyone who walks into the Oval Office…amazing.

    Excellent post. Thanks.

  24. 24
    Bulworth says:

    Actually wasn’t previously aware of this picture or Rockwell’s support for equality. Good to know.

  25. 25
    lamh32 says:

    BTW, an interesting fact about the “protesters” at Frantz. The majority of the protesters were white women terrorizing and traumatizing a child. So much for being “the fairer sex”…

    Ruby Bridges

    In Spring 1960, Ruby Bridges was one of several African-Americans in New Orleans to take a test to determine which children would be the first to attend integrated schools. Six students were chosen; however, two students decided to stay at their old school, and three were transferred to Mcdonough. Ruby was the only one assigned to William Frantz. Her father initially was reluctant, but her mother felt strongly that the move was needed not only to give her own daughter a better education, but to “take this step forward … for all African-American children.”[4]

    The court-ordered first day of integrated schools in New Orleans, November 14, 1960, was commemorated by Norman Rockwell in the painting The Problem We All Live With.[5] As Bridges describes it, “Driving up I could see the crowd, but living in New Orleans, I actually thought it was Mardi Gras. There was a large crowd of people outside of the school. They were throwing things and shouting, and that sort of goes on in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.”[5] Former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later recalled, “She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all very proud of her.”[6]

    As soon as Bridges got into the school, white parents went in and brought their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. They hired Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, to teach Bridges, and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” That first day, Bridges and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal’s office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day. Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her;[7] because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home. Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges Hall has said “scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us.” At her mother’s suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks

    Child psychiatrist Robert Coles volunteered to provide counseling to Bridges during her first year at Frantz. He met with her weekly in the Bridges home, later writing a children’s book, The Story of Ruby Bridges, to acquaint other children with Bridges’ story.

    The Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her to William Frantz Elementary: her father lost his job, and her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land. She has noted that many others in the community both black and white showed support in a variety of ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Frantz despite the protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, and local people babysat, watched the house as protectors, and walked behind the federal marshals’ car on the trips to school.

  26. 26
    Mike Goetz says:

    In his own way, Rockwell was our Diego Rivera, brilliantly camoflaged in loose-limbed Americana. He is a great model for how to do ideological American art.

  27. 27
    Tde says:

    “I’ll think about that the next time some dumb ass whines about how weak he is or how he doesn’t give a shit about progressive values.”

    Shorter version: America was and is full of racists so it’s fine that Obama is illegally sending drones to bomb and kill brownish colored children in other countries.

  28. 28
    Cat Lady says:

    Thanks dengre. I will never understand the hatred for this president from the left and the right. This country needs a national See A Psychiatrist Day.

  29. 29
    Steve says:

    That must have been neat for Ms. Bridges, a woman of great courage. You know what else would be really neat? Having Norman Rockwell do a painting about you!

  30. 30
    cleek says:

    @Mino:
    looks a bit like a big Mao statue. don’t it…

    probably cause it was done by a Chinese guy who has done two Mao statues in the past (one of which stands in Mao’s late son’s garden).

  31. 31
    patrick II says:

    @boss bitch:
    That was just in response the last sentence. Ruby Bridges is an amazing person, her story is one of courage by her and by her family, and Obama and others go through hardships we will never understand. For these two people and the many others who have faced racism and still become the principled people they have become is humbling and heartening.

  32. 32
    Taylor says:

    Dennis:

    Know anyone who went through the Kafka-esque nightmare that is HAMP?

    Spoken to Congressional Democrats lately about what they think of Obama’s negotiating skills?

    Spoken to people recently who are unemployed, maybe for the rest of their lives, and wondering where Obama has been the last two years?

    This could have been a beautiful, touching post, but marred by the “All critics of Obama are deranged racists” note at the end. Granted, plenty of them are, but in a democracy there is room for respectful disagreement.

    I’ll vote for Obama in the next election, because the alternative is increasingly making Martin Boorman look good, but hippy-punching posts like this don’t do anything for me.

    Sad.

  33. 33
    Mino says:

    @cleek: Well, duh. That is definitely a Mao pose–mad daddy. I have a old friend, Jonas Perkins, who should have bid on it. He did an amazing bust of King that was given to Clinton by Cisneros.

  34. 34
    Svensker says:

    @lamh32:

    It’s easy for some of us to forget what the reality was back then. It just seems ultimately so stupid and pointless. All frazzled up because someone’s ancestors came from a different part of the globe than your own did? In this big old universe? Silly silly humans.

    In other news, what Corner Stone said.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mino:

    but I can’t say I think it’s very good as sculpture and what’s with the body English?

    He looks rather imposing. And the look on his face doesn’t seem right, IMO. But then again I’m going with the stereotype of “thoughtful MLK”, so maybe my perspective is off.

  36. 36
    Lavocat says:

    Wow. It must be pretty convenient hiding behind the issue of race for the duration of Obama’s presidency.

    Perhaps you may have a future as a commentator on MSMBC, right beside Al Sharpton.

    At least the progressives have moved on. And why not? The Democratic Party is now nothing more than a rudderless ship captained by apologists who don’t even know they’ve been co-opted.

    And you sound soooooooo cute with your cries of “Firebagger!”

    I remember when you guys were actually relevant.

  37. 37
    Dennis G. says:

    @Tde: If that is your take-away run with it, but I question your reading comprehension.

    It is more than possible to question and challenge this President’s policies without using racist tropes, dog whistles and memes. Lot’s of folks do it and there are always legitimate reasons to call out this or that policy of ANY President. This has always been true and it is true of Barack Obama.

    The racism in America is not an excuse for bad policy and neither I–nor this White House–have ever argued that it is. You make that charge and so I would call out your response as just an iteration of the problem I cite.

    But I’m pretty certain that you lack the self-awareness to acknowledge that link and that you’ll be hurt and outraged that I mentioned it.

    So it goes.

  38. 38
    Tonybrown74 says:

    @Taylor:

    Reading Comprehension Fail.

    This could have been a beautiful, touching post, but marred by the “All critics of Obama are deranged racists” note at the end. Granted, plenty of them are, but in a democracy there is room for respectful disagreement.

    Please point out where Dennis says or even implies this.

  39. 39
    magurakurin says:

    “hippy punching” is the most abused phrase in the blogsphere. Maybe Dengre’s final comment was out of line, that is certainly a subject for an argument. But how in the fuck is it hippy punching? “Dumb ass” now equals “hippy?” It’s time for “hippy punching” to be retired from the lexicon.

  40. 40
    lamh32 says:

    @Mino: @cleek:

    ok, if the take away from the new MLK monument is that the statue looks like a big mao statue, then my guess is that you are focusing on the wrong damn thing.

    The fact that there IS a monument there at all should be the take away.

    BTW, not really directed at ya’ll personally, but I’m seriously getting tired of people harping on the statue both for the look and for the fact that a Chinese guy designed. Seriously, people need to let it go.

  41. 41
    cleek says:

    @Lavocat:

    At least the progressives have moved on.

    one day, the self-described progressive base will learn that they do not define what it means to be progressive, nor do they speak for all who identify as progressives.

    until that day, they will look pretty silly.

  42. 42
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @Tde: Gosh, I don’t want to speak on behalf of Dengre, but it seemed that he was talking more about the whole “primary him now!”, “too weak to be President” “worse than Bush” tropes one reads or hears from time to time on “progressive” outlets (and no, I will not be providing links). You should be mad at Obama for illegally sending drones to bomb people. You should be mad that some of Obama’s POLICY decisions are horrible. Just remember that Obama is our first President of color, and so people can be a bit touchy about any criticisms that aren’t focused on policy decisions.

    /my two cents

  43. 43
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Dennis, as a uniter, not a divider, I want to propose that your last sentence was half right, half questionable. It is bullshit to question Obama’s personal strength; for a black man to achieve what he’s achieved in this country is frankly astonishing and couldn’t have been achieved by a weak person. On the other hand, I don’t think his commitment to liberal values is so cut-and-dried. I’m not one of those “Obama is a Republican” folks, but he’s fairly clearly a centrist (in the activist “third way” sense) technocrat, whose apparently first and strongest devotion is to the ideal of Compromise. That’s not such a bad thing in an of itself, but when it blinds you to the fact that the other side is equally committed to the ideal of Fuck You We’re Not Budging, then it becomes a problem.

  44. 44
    Constance says:

    @lamh32:

    And Chinese women bound their daughter’s feet. We learn to do what will make us safe in our patriarchies. Hate is easier than tolerance. No thinking required, or learning, or growing.

    My neighbors, a young couple in their early thirties, just hung a big confederate flag in their kitchen window for everyone who drives down our road to see. They probably voted for Sharron Angle. They offered to help me shovel snow this winter, they have two very nice huge dogs. And they hang a hate message in their window. Why am I confused?

    Thanks for the Ruby Bridges info. I hadn’t read that.

  45. 45
    Jennifer says:

    @Svensker: Funny, because I was just pondering on the same; how stupid it all was and what a dreadful waste of resources to have to build two of everything – schools, rest rooms, water fountains, etc. (Little known fact – about the only physical reminder of segregated public facilities that remains can be found in old de-commissioned railroad stations, which still in their disuse feature the two separate waiting rooms.) All done so that white southerners, in their defeat, could continue to feel superior to at least someone.

    That’s really what it all stemmed from. That’s what it still stems from, except for these days it’s the province more of a state of low intellect/education rather than a region.

  46. 46
    Bulworth says:

    As soon as Bridges got into the school, white parents went in and brought their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. They hired Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, to teach Bridges, and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.”

    Ah, the America teabag nation sentimentalizes.

  47. 47
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @Taylor: Seconded, except I am doing more than grudgingly voting for the man. I am a full-throated supporter, and not just because the alternative is far worse. However, these are all legitimate gripes as far as I’m concerned, and the President should have his feet held to the fire on them. Thank you for articulating these rational points of discussion.

  48. 48
    Bill H. says:

    To say that “it is racism and the fear of losing white privilege that animates most of the Tea Party” might be a reach, for you may be right, but you cannot know what is in the minds of others. Certainly it would be true of some, you can read the signs they are carrying, but reading minds is a dangerous practice.

    To say that “Racism is a fact of life for this President” is undoubtedly true, as it is true for every American of color, and that is one of the most shameful and sad things about this nation. I was watching CBS News feature photos of Dr. Martin Luther King last night and they brought tears to my eyes. He brought us part of the way, and we have a very long way to go.

  49. 49
    cleek says:

    @lamh32:
    nah. execution matters, too. the thought counts for a lot, but the execution shouldn’t get in the way. the Mao thing is inescapable; it looks like a Mao statue. and why would anyone want people to think of Mao when they should be thinking about MLK ? i think the statue is ugly, and i think it does not respect MLK’s legacy. makes me wish they’d done something better.

  50. 50
    Danny says:

    @Taylor:

    This could have been a beautiful, touching post, but marred by the “All critics of Obama are deranged racists” note at the end. Granted, plenty of them are, but in a democracy there is room for respectful disagreement.

    Do “all critics of Obama” whine about how weak he is? Do “all critics of Obama” accuse him of not giving a shit about progressive values?

    Don’t think so. But the people who do are morons. Dennis is right on the money. If you want respect for your principled stance, start acting in a dignified manner. If you won’t, expect people to dislike you.

  51. 51
    PaulW says:

    Just went on a Norman Rockwell kick for 30 minutes after seeing that photo, and for some reason am crying my eyes out.

  52. 52
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Tde:

    America was and is full of racists so it’s fine that Obama is illegally sending drones to bomb and kill brownish colored children in other countries.

    I bet he dines on Red Herring every night, too!

  53. 53
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @Dennis G.: Argh! You used “tropes” in your post, and I used it in mine in replying to the same poster! I must be a sock puppet of yours!

  54. 54
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Bulworth: Have you seen the pics of Obama and Perry at 22(although Obama is 19 or 20 in said pic) making the rounds?

  55. 55
    lamh32 says:

    @Taylor: So in a post that was 98% about Ruby Bridges, one sentence was all it took for people to take off and totally high jack a thread with comments that are 99% about the last sentence and with throw away lines about “the courage of Ruby Bridges”?

    I have a lot more respect for those who chose to comment on the 98% that this post actually represented than those who were so wounded about that one sentence.

    some people need to really get over yourselves.

  56. 56
    Mike Goetz says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    People who think Obama is blind to the fact that Republicans are committed to Fuck You We’re Not Budging bewilder me to no end. Not only does he know that, he is counting on it. It’s the reason, for example, the Boehner’s popularity has plunged 25 points in four months.

  57. 57
    lethargytartare says:

    @Tonybrown74:

    it is constantly fascinating to me just how many unbigoted progressive critics of Obama instantly feel accused of racism any time a front pager metions that Obama is black.

    yes, very interesting.

  58. 58
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Tonybrown74:

    The ones that yowl the most…

    Great post Dennis. As usual.

  59. 59

    @Dennis G.:

    Yup, it is the lazy, weak, emasculating personal terms that are used to critique Obama with, that is and has been the problem.

    Though otherwise, it is difficult to know where criticism over not believing in progressive values, becomes related to racism.

    I will say this. When that criticism is scorched earth and impervious to factual rebuttal of claimed failure, then there is a problem beyond reasonable critique. I see a bunch of liberal activists, not only not giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, but actively seeking with a fine tooth comb, things to make their Obama prog fail case.

    You will not convince me that if Obama were not black, then he would be subjected to such hair trigger, and often pedantic like slams and rank dismissal over any and all compromise, from some quarters on the left.

    Especially when he didn’t commit to being a so called “progressive” in his campaign, in the first place. It is almost like he should better take orders from his white liberal masters, that made him what he is, after all, with their civil rights belief structure and activism in support of those rights.

    You can call it racism, or anything you like, but that is my take.

  60. 60
    Corner Stone says:

    @lamh32: Please inform us all when you’re done defining the areas of commenting you find acceptable.

  61. 61
    lamh32 says:

    @cleek:
    no offense, but what person who is going to see the MLK Memorial is gonna go think “Mao-Like” upon first seeing the statue? I have a suspicion what type of person will. Normal everyday people, unless they just happen to know what exactly a “Mao statue” looks like, then I suspect they will not see it. I think it’s the case where if you point out something to someone who was oblivious then of course they will begin to see what you see too.

    Besides, I think I’ll wait until I see the actualy statue in person and NOT on film or in pictures before I say it’s “mao-like”, who knows up close and personal, the statue probably looks different.

  62. 62
    bookcat says:

    When I think about what she, as a little 6 year old girl, went through it makes my heart ache. I think about my little boy- what if people threw things at him, screamed names, wished to hurt him, TRIED to hurt him? Perhaps I lacked the wisdom to feel this deeply before I was a parent, but now….now every child I see is dear to me. The instinct to protect is there for every single one.

  63. 63
    lamh32 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Pot please meet kettle…

  64. 64
    handy says:

    @Tonybrown74:

    how [Obama] doesn’t give a shit about progressive values

    Because of course Obama does give one it’s just those awful mean bigot Republicans and Jane Hamsher who are all HOLDING HIM BACK!

    Please.

  65. 65
    OzoneR says:

    @Tde:

    America was and is full of racists so it’s fine that Obama is illegally sending drones to bomb and kill brownish colored children in other countries.

    didn’t know being a progressive meant never using the military, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Truman and LBJ would be surprised to hear it

  66. 66
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    People who think Obama is blind to the fact that Republicans are committed to Fuck You We’re Not Budging bewilder me to no end. Not only does he know that, he is counting on it. It’s the reason, for example, the Boehner’s popularity has plunged 25 points in four months.

    I’m not sure Obama was counting on having a 38% approval rating a year and change out from the election, or that he was counting on being single digits apart from psychotic lunatics in hypothetical horse race polling a year and change out from the election. The idea that he’s giving the Republicans enough room to destroy themselves would be more compelling if it didn’t appear that they’re going to be able to take him down as collateral damage.

  67. 67
    schlemizel - was Alwhite says:

    @boss bitch:

    Yeah, I think that is exactly what was suggested in that last line of the post.

  68. 68
    Corner Stone says:

    @lamh32: This doesn’t even make any sense.

  69. 69
    lamh32 says:

    @Corner Stone: neither do you half the time so what?

  70. 70
    grandpajohn says:

    @lamh32:

    I have a lot more respect for those who chose to comment on the 98% that this post actually represented than those who were so wounded about that one sentence.

    Well as Alexander Pope told us”All is infected that the infected spy, as all is yellow to the jaundiced eye.”

  71. 71
    Raenelle says:

    Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain are also black. Therefore, no progressive can criticize them? That doesn’t make any fucking sense.

  72. 72
    TG Chicago says:

    And yes, the right is going to complain about this:

    (Newsmax)

    The painting gives a representative look into the white community’s largely defiant response to court-ordered integration.

    Ah! They were “defiant”! And fighting against government oppression! Just like today’s Tea Party Patriots. Err… wait…

    You have to appreciate the honesty of their subtext here.

  73. 73
    Dennis G. says:

    @fasteddie9318: Most of these critics of the so-called “left” would endorse the view exposed by Drew Westen a couple of weeks ago in the NYTs. His is the fantasy view that only through the magic of saying the “right” words can you get shit done. It is a well debunked fairy tale view of our political reality. And yet, it is a very popular view–left, right and center.

    Meanwhile, without sound and fury, shit IS getting done and progress is being made. Foundations of change are being laid in the bureaucracy so that progress will be more lasting and structural. This was how DADT was repealed and DOMA is following the same path. So are many other efforts where the best solution was blocked by Congress. The news about immigration prosecutions this week is an example. There are many more examples I could cite–all across the scope of Government.

    Of course non of this matters if you view the world only through the narrow scope of the sound bites of your choice and if you measure progress by who won the news cycle.

    The more you dig into what is really happening, the more the progress becomes apparent. Hell, even the CW about the Stimulus turns out to be wrong–when you spend the time to see what actually happened, instead of relying on spin.

    Having the persistence and courage to keep your eye on the prize is what the Obama Administration has been all about.

    I have run out of patience for those who auto-repeat the “he’s weak” or “he’s a sellout” talking points. I may be too blunt in calling that stuff out as bullshit, but so it goes.

  74. 74
    cursorial says:

    It’s a beautiful image, and couldn’t agree with the Dennis’ last sentiment more. Too many people on the left equate Obama not prioritizing their particular progressive cause with Obama being indifferent to progressivism in general. To me, making Congressman X walk past that painting after whining about the CRA, or redistribution, or whatever it is that proves how good minorities have it in this country, is much more satisfying than another pointless shouting match about race.

  75. 75
    Danny says:

    @Taylor:

    On your other stuff:

    Know anyone who went through the Kafka-esque nightmare that is HAMP?

    Homeowners with mortgages are hurting because of a) 40 years of bank deregulation, b) 10 years of eroding middle class wealth, c) they took on loans they couldnt pay, d) the economy and jobs situation

    The president is trying to do something about their situation with HAMP. The program may not be perfect, and maybe it has failed at making a huge dent in the home market.

    But let’s be real here. Homeowners with mortgages who are hurting, aren’t hurting because of HAMP, but because of their existing mortgage.

    Obama may not be succeeding at improving the situation at the speed we would like to see, but he didnt cause the problem. Listening to you, one would get the impression that Obama signed the mortgage deed, Obama repealed Glass–Steagall, Obama invented low interest monetary policy, Obama eroded the wealth of the middle class.

    None of that is true and while Obama may own the problem of hurting homeowners he certainly didnt cause it. But he is trying to do something about it.

    Spoken to Congressional Democrats lately about what they think of Obama’s negotiating skills?

    How about their own fucking negotiating skills? They were part of the negotiations as well weren’t they and they voted for the same bills he signed didnt they? How about saving some blame for nihilistic “let the country burn” republicans perhaps?

    Spoken to people recently who are unemployed, maybe for the rest of their lives, and wondering where Obama has been the last two years?

    Sure. It’s fair that people who aint got jobs are pissed. Doesnt mean Obama’s not trying to fix it. But not all problems are easy to fix. Fixing the Great Depression took twelve years. Twelve.

  76. 76
    Mike Goetz says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Obama hasn’t even begun to campaign, and has now laid down the marker on who is interested in responsible governance and who is not. Obama is at his nadir and the best the Repubs can do is eke out a tie, and Obama isn’t even on the field yet. It is the committment to compromise that has Obama’s personal favorability outstripping his job-approval numbers, constituting the core of his still-huge trove of political capital.

  77. 77
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dennis G.:

    Hell, even the CW about the Stimulus turns out to be wrong

    What CW do you believe this link debunks?

  78. 78
    gogol's wife says:

    @Dennis G.:

    Yes, yes, yes. I wish you were on the NYTimes op-ed page instead of those clowns.

  79. 79
    Mino says:

    @lamh32: I did say I thought the concept was great, didn’t I? And I had problems with the statue before I even knew of the Mao connection. Leaving aside the execution and choice of stone, what is with the pose? I wondered if MLK took that position a lot? I don’t remember him standing so, looking so repelling and forbidding, but what do I know?
    And so I think it is an opportunity lost. Frankly, his memorial doesn’t reach the quality of the others on the mall.

  80. 80
    Elizabelle says:

    Dennis: I would say that racism, and particularly subconscious racism, is part of it.

    But I think a lot is because of the Christianists who’ve overtaken the Republican party. They’re convinced they’re right, God is on their side, and therefore the other side is Satan or unChristian. (The “Obama is a Muslim” meme came straight from that.)

    Therefore, they demonize and demonize, whether because of their faith, or their ideology that’s under attack because — face it — rightwing ideology doesn’t work, and is built on a foundation of lies upon lies.

    Thinking on the white women who made Ruby Bridge’s transit to school such a nightmare:

    Too many people will do terrible things when they perceive their family or religion or way of life is threatened or under attack.

    Plus we’ve got a major recession/minor depression, and economic uncertainty. People look around and don’t see the demographics — the actual expected faces — they’re familiar with from 40 years before.

    Racism is part of it; I can’t personally tell how much because there are so many “co-morbidities.”

    Last, talking about shiftlessness and other stereotypes racists aim at blacks: just realized they’ve pretty much aimed that at the entire Democratic party. You see it in their online comments.

    D’uh, but I hadn’t thought about that before.

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mino:

    And I had problems with the statue before I even knew of the Mao connection. Leaving aside the execution and choice of stone, what is with the pose?

    Personally I think giving him a monochromatic look with the suit, shirt and tie is just all kinds of wrong.

  82. 82
    Mino says:

    @Corner Stone: I hope you’re right–that there will be better photos or it looks better in person.

  83. 83
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Dennis G.:

    The more you dig into what is really happening, the more the progress becomes apparent. Hell, even the CW about the Stimulus turns out to be wrong—when you spend the time to see what actually happened, instead of relying on spin.

    I don’t dispute this, but the fact that you have to dig to find this out is itself partly a failure of the administration. There’s a failure in messaging, which, granted, is irrelevant in terms of getting particular legislation passed but is very relevant in winning elections. There’s been a failure to seize opportunities for ideological gains (the aftermath of the 08 election provided the best opportunity that we’ll probably have in my lifetime to finally put a bullet in the zombie brain of Reaganomics, and that window has now passed), or toward directly responding to the needs of the electorate in order to maintain public support (and, frankly, do the right thing in terms of immediate policy needs).

    The stimulus is a good example of the latter. Forget the size because a significantly bigger stimulus was a non-starter. Forget the large portion of what was passed that was wasted on unproductive tax cuts, because it wouldn’t have gotten passed without them. Of what’s left, too much was spend on investment rather than immediate recovery. I realize why they wanted to structure it that way, and acknowledge that in 5 or 10 years parts of the ARRA may really start paying off in a big way, but it really would have been better politics and policy, given their constraints, to load that bill up with more basic infrastructure maintenance and improvements and more state and local budget assistance.

    The nihilists will throw up their hands at this and say that the media won’t cover it and everybody hates Obama anyway so he can’t win, but I’m not ready to concede that we’re that fucked (because if there really is no room in the public discourse for a Democratic administration to draw attention to its successes and make the case for its ideology, then this country is well-and-truly fucked beyond salvation).

  84. 84
    lamh32 says:

    @Mino:

    Controversy Surrounds MLK Memorial Sculpture (VIDEO)

    …MLK’s family is supportive of the work, and despite critic’s thoughts that the likeness looks too Asian, King’s namesake son told USA Today he’s seen “probably 50 sculptures of my dad, and [I] would say 47 of them are not good reflections” but that “this particular artist — he’s done a good job.”
    The dedication of the memorial, with an expected crowd of 400 thousand people, falls on the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, August 28th.

    The family likes it, so I’m okay with it.

  85. 85
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Danny:

    Sure. It’s fair that people who aint got jobs are pissed. Doesnt mean Obama’s not trying to fix it. But not all problems are easy to fix. Fixing the Great Depression took twelve years. Twelve.

    This is certainly a fair point, but having gone through the Depression and thus learning more about how you get out of one, it really shouldn’t take 12 years to get out of this one.

  86. 86
    Danny says:

    @Dennis G.:

    Yes. Thanks. There is always room for principled opposition within the left and there’s always gonna be room. And respect for those who choose to stand on principle. But the majority of the Emobagger shit we’ve been seeing is a stinking cesspool of ratfuckery, dishonesty and recycled republican talking points.

    It doesnt care about facts. It doesnt want to be part of the reality-based society. It doesnt aim to be fair.

    Ergo: I don’t have to like it and I don’t have to respect it.

  87. 87
    catclub says:

    @Mino: “Frankly, his memorial doesn’t reach the quality of the others on the mall.”

    Give it ten years, or more.

  88. 88
    ruemara says:

    Yesterday I read the stupidest examiner posting about how having this painting up shows that Barack Obama is racist who is dividing America. I had to explain to the person sharing it that it did not say what he thought it said.

  89. 89
    lamh32 says:

    @catclub:

    Wasn’t there contraversy over the Vietnam Memorial with it was designed and after it was finished?

    People got over it. Like I said, it’s the fact that there IS a memorial that the great thing.

  90. 90
    Elie says:

    @lamh32:

    Thank you for sharing this lovely link and thank YOU Dennis for this post.

    I think Obama is enobled every day when he walks past this painting and when he remembers MLK, Gandhi, the core tenets of the Civil Rights and non violence…

    Tamara shared a link on the WeeSEEYou site (which is down right now) which addressed these tenets: dignity in the face of ridicule and animosity, always taking the high road — not angrily attacking your detractors but showing who they are by showing how they fail using their own standards.

    Its a short and interesting point of view. I attach the link but the site is down right now:

    http://weeseeyou.com/2011/08/1.....m-its-you/

  91. 91
    tde says:

    It is more than possible to question and challenge this President’s policies without using racist tropes, dog whistles and memes. Lot’s of folks do it and there are always legitimate reasons to call out this or that policy of ANY President. This has always been true and it is true of Barack Obama.

    This guy makes sense, unlike the OP who was saying that dumbasses whine about how Obama doesn’t give a shit about progressive values. Apparently you can whine about it and NOT be a dumbass. Good to know.

    didn’t know being a progressive meant never using the military, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Truman and LBJ would be surprised to hear it

    If you don’t see the difference between illegally using drones to bomb targets (and kill children) and “never using the military” I can’t help you.

  92. 92
    Elliecat says:

    What I see as racism among “progressive” critics of the president is their apparent implicit assumption that because he is biracial Obama should be MORE progressive, MORE liberal, MORE admirable, MORE MORE MORE than we would ever expect a white president to be. I think this is a big part of why their disappointment is so profound.

    I’ve seen this among white liberals for years. OMG, the crushing disappointment among white liberal coworkers when the one black manager the boss hired turned out to be a sexist pig. Never mind, the white boss and several other white male managers were sexist pigs—that’s to be expected of white men, but a black man who could achieve managerial status MUST be BETTER than that, right? OMG, the real pain when a black employee turned out to be lazy (like at least 80% of the white employees).

    This is what happens when you have so little contact with other races. You assume the best or worse about people based on their race. I really think a lot of progressives had inflated ideas of how progressive Obama would be based on his race.

    And I don’t think most white liberals or progressives have any real understanding of what black Americans face. As a white person, I can’t completely comprehend it but my kids attended a school where 70% of the kids were black or biracial and through volunteering, observing and talking to teachers and parents, I saw the struggles those kids and their parents had. I became aware of so much subtle racism, perpetrated even by “concerned” white liberals. I think a lot of “progressives” grossly underestimate what Obama probably struggles with every day in just doing his job. All kinds of little shit that grinds things down, slows down every process, hangs up movement.

  93. 93
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    This is certainly a fair point, but having gone through the Depression and thus learning more about how you get out of one, it really shouldn’t take 12 years to get out of this one.

    Why shouldn’t it? Because Paul Krugman can write 3 Trillion dollar stimulus on a piece of paper, and we agree with him?

    Getting things done in politics is complicated and macro-economy is complicated as well.

    What would this months job numbers have looked like if we imagine that the Arab Spring, the Tsunami, the 2010 midterms and the Debt Ceiling showdown never happened?

    What would they look like if the chinese economy had collapsed bigtime in 2009?

    That should tell you something about the fickle political fortunes of a president in a federal republic dealing with a global economy.

  94. 94
    nellcote says:

    @Mino:

    Frankly, his memorial doesn’t reach the quality of the others on the mall.

    You would have preferred a tall black obelisk?

  95. 95
    Elie says:

    @cleek:

    It does… it has that weird “frontality” you see in not only Mao sculptures but Lenin and other Soviet figures. Have no idea why they chose a representative design as a center piece anyway — was expecting something abstract with maybe a small bust of him inside — or not..

    No matter. What Lahm said…give it ten years to “settle in”. The statue is not what MLK was about… no statue could ever capture that… I’m glad that there is one of him on the mall and he WAS one of our critical “founding fathers” — he rededicated this country to its core humanistic values. Nothing – NOTHING will change that — even years of racists doing what they do.

    Obama knows this and it keeps him strong. He knows that he is not being strong for himself…he is being strong for US and for the ages..

  96. 96
    Mino says:

    @lamh32: Boy, I don’t remember that. Everyone I knew was gobsmacked by it.

  97. 97
    DaBomb says:

    @Elie: Hey Elie!

    WEESEEYOU, will be back up soon, but under a different name. Most of the same writers. Just finding a new home.

    Pass the word!

  98. 98
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    Interesting point. I recall Rockwell primarily from Saturday Evening Post covers when I was a li’l kid. He got zero respect from the art world (“schmaltz”) but his mainstream appeal allowed him lattitude for some provocative messages, perhaps none as moving as the above. He couldn’t be dismissed by the general public as just another nutty artsy artist.

    I don’t know much more about his life, but it’s doubtless he received vast quantities of hate for that painting.

  99. 99
    Mino says:

    @nellcote: No, I said the concept was fine!

  100. 100
    Elie says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Yeah — I am real sure “you know how to get it done”.

    thats why your commenting on someone else’s blog.

    You clearly have NO IDEA how to “get it done”. Just saying that you do is bullshit.

    Folks like YOU hurt progressives getting anything done. Whatever any Democratic leadership does is never perfect enough and YOU (whaa) would have done better cause I guess they all are stupid and don’t know how to do it or are corrupt and don’t want to do it cause YOU say its easy to do — just like that.

    I wish that I had Obama’s patience. I don’t. FUCK your ass off.

  101. 101
    RosiesDad says:

    I’ll think about that the next time some dumb ass whines about how weak he is or how he doesn’t give a shit about progressive values.

    Yeah, uh, no. Great post up to this sentence. But the issue isn’t whether he “gives a shit” about progressive values, the issue is whether he is willing to fight for them with the same ferocity his opponents battle to advance their agenda. I don’t view it necessarily as weakness, but more an almost pathological need to appear reasonable. But he gives up too much in the process. And for me, this is incredibly frustrating.

  102. 102
    boss bitch says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite:

    Yeah, I think that is exactly what was suggested in that last line of the post

    No it wasn’t. Some of you hear or see what you want to. Just like when the left is criticized about HOW they criticize the President, the only thing they hear is that we are telling them to shut up and sit down.

  103. 103
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Danny:

    Getting things done in politics is complicated and macro-economy is complicated as well.

    I didn’t say it won’t take 12 years, I said it shouldn’t. And if it does, we should know it’s a failure of the political system and not because nobody has any idea what to do. Last time it was a little of both.

  104. 104
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    There’s a failure in messaging, which, granted, is irrelevant in terms of getting particular legislation passed but is very relevant in winning elections.

    I agree with this. There is a failure in messaging.

    But it’s not the Obama administrations failure. The problem is that the left – as a whole – is much weaker at messaging than the right.

    I’m sure there are some things that could be done about that in the short term e.g. democrats enforcing better message discipline, progressive bloggers deciding to be as loyal party hacks as conservative bloggers are, etc.

    But a lot stuff is institutional and can only change over time with lots of effort: e.g. we don’t have a progressive FoxNews, Limbaugh, focus on the family, evangelical churchs to push our message. Progressive grassroots dont like being identical footsoldiers pushing the same talking points over and over; conservative grassroots love doing that.

    So it’s the same old fallacy again: Obama should negate that assymetry, by himself. By the use of his magic bully pulpit. But there’s only one Obama and there’s a limit to how many messages he can get out there and he’s constrained by his messages being filtered and attacked on FoxNews. By conservative talking heads in the village.

  105. 105
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Elie: Wow, that was a really angry response to a pretty benign comment. Take a few deep breaths or try some stretching exercises. Herbal teas are good too.

  106. 106
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Sure. What I’m seeing though is some on the “left” trying to establish a baseline, an expectation that solving the Great Recession is as simple as writing 3 trillion dollar stimulus on a piece of paper; and then we measure Obama’s performance against that baseline, and if he comes up short then he owns the bad economy. That’s not useful.

  107. 107
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Danny:

    But it’s not the Obama administrations failure. The problem is that the left – as a whole – is much weaker at messaging than the right

    So it’s the same old fallacy again: Obama should negate that assymetry, by himself. By the use of his magic bully pulpit.

    You can scrub my original comment, but I don’t think you’ll find any mention of the “magic bully pulpit” or the notion that Obama should do anything “by himself.” But note how, in your effort to paint me as having set unreasonable expectations of Obama, you’ve absolved him of any role in liberal messaging failures as though his administration isn’t or shouldn’t be involved in crafting and selling the liberal message. How can that be?

  108. 108
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Danny:

    Sure. What I’m seeing though is some on the “left” trying to establish a baseline, an expectation that solving the Great Recession is as simple as writing 3 trillion dollar stimulus on a piece of paper; and then we measure Obama’s performance against that baseline, and if he comes up short then he owns the bad economy. That’s not useful.

    No, but it’s not particularly widespread either. The people who see Obama as “owning the bad economy” aren’t for the most part on the left, where his approval ratings are still quite high.

  109. 109
    Corner Stone says:

    @boss bitch:

    Just like when the left is criticized about HOW they criticize the President, the only thing they hear is that we are telling them to shut up and sit down.

    Isn’t that what you’re doing? The ridiculous redirection of “acceptable” criticism of President Obama is like looking for Big Foot.

  110. 110
    Brachiator says:

    @Dennis G.: Great post.

    One other thing that immediately stands out in the picture is not the indignity of racism, but the dignity of opposition to it, and the role of the federal government in protecting the rights of all its citizens.

    And note that while young Ruby is fully depicted, the faces of the Deputy US Marshals are not shown. Not because they are anonymous, but because they represent anyone who steps forward to do good. There may also be an ironic disparagement of Klanners who would wear hoods to hide their identities.

  111. 111
    Elie says:

    @RosiesDad:

    You think that “fighting” is screaming and belittling your opponents, right? That’s how YOU know what fighting is. To you, fighting is not making your opposition mess up, or being/showing the example of how our government and the specific branches and roles are supposed to work — and forcing them to work the right way? Takin the heat to get things done because you know that little people will need help, not just the loud mouths who know everything and themselves would magically click their heels and it would be just perfect.

    I can’t stand folks like you (not personally, but what you espouse). You are worse than the right retards.

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @fasteddie9318: Referencing messaging, and outcomes that actually help people, I saw the blurb at Atrios’ place about COBRA subsidies ending.
    I skim news pretty much every day and I was unaware of this upcoming event. That may be just me I guess.
    But it seems like this could have been talked about more by proponents of extending COBRA.

  113. 113
    boss bitch says:

    Spoken to Congressional Democrats lately about what they think of Obama’s negotiating skills?

    I would love to ask Congressional Democrats why they punted in 2010 on the three biggest headaches we’ve experienced this year? I would like to ask them why every time a bill is being negotiated they run to the cameras demanding that Obama step in? When are they going to stop acting like bystanders and do their job?

  114. 114
    gogol's wife says:

    @RosiesDad:

    “a pathological need to appear reasonable” This is why we’re screwed. What could that possibly mean? He is the least pathological person in the universe. Why is it bad to be reasonable and intelligent? He fights quietly, doggedly, and intelligently. I understand why people on TV don’t want to acknowledge that, but I will never understand why people who are supposed to be on the same side won’t.

  115. 115
    Paul in KY says:

    Very glad to see that painting hanging there.

  116. 116
    grandpajohn says:

    @Elliecat:

    I really think a lot of progressives had inflated ideas of how progressive Obama would be based on his race.

    Probably a result of auditory failure, they didn’t bother to listen and understand what he said during the campaign. The fact that he did not campaign as a progressive was not what they waanted to hear.

  117. 117
    Elie says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Get lost, you elitist, know nothing blowhard.

    I say that in only the nicest way.

    You can’t let one post go by giving Obama credit or anything positive without sticking in your know nothing opinions to sow negativity to kneecap and drag down. You are so fucked up with that non violent fake zen bullshit that just obscures how little you know or care about how real outcomes are accomplished. Keep that fake hippie zen ass stuff to yourself.

    I say it again: GET LOST

  118. 118

    […] warfare, with uber-wealthy elites bankrolling a faux-populist insurgency.  You can, as Dennis G. does here, powerfully and accurately, trace the roots of the current fiasco in anxiety (and worse)n in the […]

  119. 119
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    You can scrub my original comment, but I don’t think you’ll find any mention of the “magic bully pulpit” or the notion that Obama should do anything “by himself.”

    Note how, nowhere in my post was I attributing the “magical bully pulpit” position to you, or saying you were accusing Obama of being the main culprit of poor messaging.

    Funny dat, huh?

    I took your statement as a pretext for ranting about something I think is true. Now it is a fact that most people on the left who are complaining about poor messaging is talking about Obama. They are wrong, for the reasons I pointed out, and they are the ones I was talking about in my post.

    But note how, in your effort to paint me as having set unreasonable expectations of Obama, you’ve absolved him of any role in liberal messaging failures as though his administration isn’t or shouldn’t be involved in crafting and selling the liberal message. How can that be?

    I never stipulated that the Obama admin couldnt improve their messaging. I happen to think that Obama is usually pitch perfect in his own messaging – iow what he says in speeches etc. But I dont follow the Obama admin up close enough to determine how everyone do their day to day job or if their messaging strategy could be improved or not.

    What I do know is that the big assymetry between the lefts ability to push their message to voters and the rights ability to do so is not about Obama’s message team screwing up. It’s a structural issue that I gave a few examples of in my post.

    The unhinged Emobagger crowd have taken to attributing outfall of that assymetry to Obama. That’s, again, not useful, since Obama cant negate that assymetry by rewriting a speech.

    As always, you decide yourself if you consider yourself part of the group of individuals I’m referring to.

  120. 120
    Elie says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Because they are not “on our side”. Some are plants for our opposition and others represent their own brand of narcissistic self promoting ideaslim. Its just about them and they have all the answers, trust me.

  121. 121
    OzoneR says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    having gone through the Depression and thus learning more about how you get out of one, it really shouldn’t take 12 years to get out of this one.

    having gone through the Depression, having seen the political situation then vs. now, you would surely understand WHY it’s gonna take 12 years

  122. 122
    gnomedad says:

    @Dennis G.:
    Excellent post and link to xpostfactoid. Thanks.

  123. 123
    Bmaccnm says:

    @Mino: I remember a lot of controversy- “it goes down into a hole” “it doesn’t honor the lost cause” “black marble is disrespectful.” Stuff like that. The day we went to see it, my Viet Nam combat vet ex-husband broke down about halfway along the path and cried for a hour. That’s how much power it has. But the common wosdom of the time was that true war memorials are about myths, not names.

  124. 124
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    No, but it’s not particularly widespread either. The people who see Obama as “owning the bad economy” aren’t for the most part on the left, where his approval ratings are still quite high.

    It’s standard mode of operation amongst professional Emobaggers, in my humble view.

  125. 125
    Emerald says:

    @Danny: Bravo!

  126. 126
    boss bitch says:

    @Elliecat:

    What I see as racism among “progressive” critics of the president is their apparent implicit assumption that because he is biracial Obama should be MORE progressive, MORE liberal, MORE admirable, MORE MORE MORE than we would ever expect a white president to be. I think this is a big part of why their disappointment is so profound.

    This is true. I hear it when Bill Maher calls Obama Wayne Brady when he should Suge Knight or when Helen Thomas said she assumed that Obama was a liberal because he was Black. I’ve also heard similar complaints from prominent Blacks who thought Obama would ‘hook them up’ once he took office.

  127. 127
    AxelFoley says:

    @Elliecat:

    What I see as racism among “progressive” critics of the president is their apparent implicit assumption that because he is biracial Obama should be MORE progressive, MORE liberal, MORE admirable, MORE MORE MORE than we would ever expect a white president to be. I think this is a big part of why their disappointment is so profound.
    I’ve seen this among white liberals for years. OMG, the crushing disappointment among white liberal coworkers when the one black manager the boss hired turned out to be a sexist pig. Never mind, the white boss and several other white male managers were sexist pigs—-that’s to be expected of white men, but a black man who could achieve managerial status MUST be BETTER than that, right? OMG, the real pain when a black employee turned out to be lazy (like at least 80% of the white employees).
    This is what happens when you have so little contact with other races. You assume the best or worse about people based on their race. I really think a lot of progressives had inflated ideas of how progressive Obama would be based on his race.
    And I don’t think most white liberals or progressives have any real understanding of what black Americans face. As a white person, I can’t completely comprehend it but my kids attended a school where 70% of the kids were black or biracial and through volunteering, observing and talking to teachers and parents, I saw the struggles those kids and their parents had. I became aware of so much subtle racism, perpetrated even by “concerned” white liberals. I think a lot of “progressives” grossly underestimate what Obama probably struggles with every day in just doing his job. All kinds of little shit that grinds things down, slows down every process, hangs up movement.

    Bingo. Hell, Helen Thomas, former White House press corps member, flat-out admitted this after her dismissal for her comments on Israel/Palestine. She straight up said she thought Obama would be more liberal because he’s black.

  128. 128
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Elie: Some meditation, perhaps, or yoga?

  129. 129
    NR says:

    @Elie:

    Some are plants for our opposition

    If I were a plant for the opposition, I’d be all over the progressive blogs telling Obama to keep doing exactly what he’s been doing. 38% and falling.

  130. 130
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Danny:

    It’s standard mode of operation amongst professional Emobaggers, in my humble view.

    Which is, what, maybe 20 blogs with readership that can be counted in the hundreds, if not dozens? I just don’t think they warrant the attention.

  131. 131
    Danny says:

    She straight up said she thought Obama would be more liberal because he’s black.

    And “more liberal” usually meaning the magical liberal president of dreams who made all liberal priorities the law of the land by fiat.. Who’s mythical presidency was the words “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, “yes we can” and “i have a dream” manifest.

  132. 132
  133. 133
    boss bitch says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Isn’t that what you’re doing? The ridiculous redirection of “acceptable” criticism of President Obama is like looking for Big Foot.

    Its not about “acceptable” criticism. Its about giving constructive/useful criticism. What we’ve seen however is nasty and false attacks on the man’s character, his manhood, and his Blackness. How is that helpful criticism?

  134. 134
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Danny: How many of those readers are there for the emoblogging as opposed to the tabloid sensationalism and the celebrity twaddle? HuffPo does so many vile things it’s hard to pick just one.

  135. 135
    numbskull says:

    @Zifnab: Yep, and if the wingnuts want to remind everyone that Rockwell was a libtard, and thus disassociate themselves from an American icon, well who am I to stop them from stepping on their dicks?

  136. 136
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @NR: In a Gallup poll. Before the President even hits the field. I’m not saying that everything is peachy-keen, and we shouldn’t worry a lick about 2012, but give the campaign a little time to actually, you know, campaign, before making it sound like Obama is a dead Prez walking.

  137. 137
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @boss bitch:

    Its not about “acceptable” criticism. Its about giving constructive/useful criticism. What we’ve seen however is nasty and false attacks on the man’s character, his manhood, and his Blackness. How is that helpful criticism?

    Speaking only for myself and only on my experience in this one thread, I offered what I thought were a couple of specific criticisms of Obama that had nothing at all to do with his character, manhood, or race, and for my trouble I’ve had some whackaloon cuss me out using language that pretty much reads like gibberish. Now I appreciate those posts for the humor value, but I can’t say that “helpful” criticism is being met with total acceptance.

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @boss bitch:

    Its about giving constructive/useful criticism.

    Can you give an example please?

  139. 139
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    It doesn’t matter why they’re there, it reaches them. HuffPo could be our best shot at our own FoxNews but it’s not. It’s pumping out to much of what would have been called Emobagger “propaganda” back in the day when that word was still in fashion. HuffPo could spend all it’s time pumping out those missing liberal messages you’re looking for, but they’re spending it on other stuff.

  140. 140
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elliecat:

    What I see as racism among “progressive” critics of the president is their apparent implicit assumption that because he is biracial Obama should be MORE progressive, MORE liberal, MORE admirable, MORE MORE MORE than we would ever expect a white president to be. I think this is a big part of why their disappointment is so profound.

    You win the internets for the day, because I really think this is exactly what it is with many people. Every US president has bombed brown people probably starting with Jefferson, but it’s only with Obama that people seem to regard it as a deal-breaker, apparently because he should be better than that.

    They really did think that their Magic Negro had arrived to fix all of their problems with a few simple words of wisdom, and they’re pissed that there’s still a shitload of work that needs to be done.

  141. 141
    jsfox says:

    @Lavocat:

    At least Progressives have moved on

    And there in lies the problem with some progressives since the 60s. They move on when things don’t go exactly as they want no matter the reality. And then they get all pissed off when they get ignored.

    And then there is this bit of thin skin. “Firebagger” One should not be shocked when a term coined by an commenter in that ship of fools called FDL is turned around and used against them.

  142. 142
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Danny: Well, sure, it’s a lost opportunity I guess, but us liberals should probably not have been planning on Arianna the Opportunist being our standard-bearer.

  143. 143
    boss bitch says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Now I appreciate those posts for the humor value, but I can’t say that “helpful” criticism is being met with total acceptance.

    Maybe your definition of “helpful” is different? or maybe they thought your helpful criticisms were just wrong?

  144. 144
    PWL says:

    I’m a dumbass, eh? because I feel Obama “doesn’t give a shit about progressive values”?

    Well, if you say so. But I voted for the MAN, not the skin color–and for THE THINGS HE SAID HE STOOD FOR. And I’m afraid to say as far as those go, he’s let us down. He’s been a pretty good President for Wall Street( i.e., pressuring the NYAG to allow the B of A mortgage fraud settlement to go through), but not so much for he rest of us. Just look at the economy, for starters.

    I don’t think “residual racism” is a good excuse for knuckling under to the Repubs at every opportunity–and even buying into their B.S. (i.e, the fake “debt-limit” crisis)….

    So if you want to be an apologist for Obama, no matter what he does or–doesn’t–do, bully for you. But I think you’re going to find out, the hard way, that what we have here is Republican Lite–and that he’s doing a better job of fulfilling the Republican agenda than they could do themselves.

    Hope you remember that when you’re waiting till age 70 to get your first much-reduced Social Security check….

  145. 145
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @boss bitch:

    Maybe your definition of “helpful” is different? or maybe they thought your helpful criticisms were just wrong?

    Maybe, but wouldn’t the better response in either case, if we’re really OK with “helpful” criticism of the president, have been to engage the criticisms on their substance rather than hurling invective?

  146. 146
    Dennis G. says:

    @PWL: Yep. I do think that.

    Cheers

  147. 147
    Danny says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ll give you an example: yesterday one of our regulars opined that the payroll tax holiday was regressive legislation that was a bad deal for low income workers and a “sweet” one for upper income workers.

    That’s false, it’s the other way around, and I showed him by getting the numbers and doing the math. He then pivoted to complaining about the aggregate tax code not being progressive enough and Obama should have done more about it.

    He got the idea from David Dayen at FDL.

    That’s not constructive criticism or principled left wing advocacy. That’s just being one more tea party group lying about the president and his policies, albeit with a phony “left”-branding.

  148. 148
    Danny says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Well now she’s pushing Emobaggerism so: no, the problem wont go away by Obots shutting up.

  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PWL:

    Hope you remember that when you’re waiting till age 70 to get your first much-reduced Social Security check….

    I already have to wait until age 70 for my Social Security thanks to the compromises that Bill Clinton made with the Republicans. But apparently now Clinton is a progressive hero and we’re all supposed to shut up about NAFTA, welfare “reform,” Glass-Steagall repeal, and all of the other crap that got us into this situation in the first place so we can blame Obama for Clinton’s sins against progressivism.

  150. 150
    gogol's wife says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes, I think all these people who are so disappointed in Obama must be about 12 years old and don’t remember the Clinton years at all. Obama is a far better president than Clinton. Which is not to say that after 8 years of Bush I don’t look back on the Clinton years as a golden age. But talk about compromise, talk about pushing the other side’s agenda — Obama is nowhere near where Clinton was.

  151. 151
    huckster says:

    @PWL:

    So if you want to be an apologist for Obama, no matter what he does or—doesn’t—do, bully for you. But I think you’re going to find out, the hard way, that what we have here is Republican Lite—and that he’s doing a better job of fulfilling the Republican agenda than they could do themselves.

    yes indeed, this is clearly why they fight him tooth and nail constantly, because he’s such a better Republican than they are. Maybe it’s jealousy.

  152. 152
    Mnemosyne says:

    And since I’m on my anti-Clinton rant, what the fuck is up with all of these emobaggers showing up in the comments saying that Bill Clinton never compromised with Republicans? That was his entire schtick! It’s pretty much all he did! Why do I have all of these idiots telling me that the man who signed DOMA and came up with the DADT “compromise” was better for gay rights than the man who engineered the repeal of DADT? Were they all grade school children and didn’t understand what was going on? Did they suffer a severe head trauma and forget everything that happened under Clinton? Why the fuck are they here trying to claim that Bill Clinton was more liberal than Barack Obama?

    ETA: Yes, I realize I’m the first person here to bring up Clinton, but it still irritates the fuck out of me to have to deal with the ignorance day in and day out.

  153. 153
    Elizabelle says:

    Am thinking that the Rockwell painting is there to remind Obama that a good leader HAS to deal with the issues of the day, and to recall that progress is sometimes aggravatingly slow.

    Yes, racism is this particular challenge illustrated.

    Could be something else.

    The point is, to remember and build on past successes.

    OT: am wondering if any German politicians walk past paintings of shattered storefront glass — Kristallnacht, or anything to remind them daily of what a “civilized” society is capable of.

    Because with all the hate, fervor and cruelty on the internet and cable TV, and the dysfunction in our politics, I feel like we are living through the coming of fascism in slow motion.

    Some days, it feels inevitable and that other people can’t or won’t see it.

    Every day, you hope your country will stop flirting with insanity and get back on the path to progress.

    Without bloodshed.

  154. 154
    boss bitch says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Can you give an example please?

    Let’s say you’re commenting on how much leverage Blue Dogs have in the Senate and how Obama handles them. If he failed to get them to move left on a bill, it would be best if you say, ‘Obama failed at moving the Blue Dogs to the left here’s the best way to deal with Lieberman, or Nelson.’ The post would include facts and solutions based in reality.

    Not helpful is saying Obama needs to grow a pair or accuse him of being a secret Republican or saying that he hates his base so that’s why President Nelson is controlling his agenda. Or that he should call out Democrats by name on national TV and fuck the consequences.

  155. 155
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Were they all grade school children and didn’t understand what was going on? Did they suffer a severe head trauma and forget everything that happened under Clinton? Why the fuck are they here trying to claim that Bill Clinton was more liberal than Barack Obama?

    In order, some, maybe, and because the grass is always greener. Still, it’s been less than a dozen years since the guy who brought you NAFTA, welfare reform, and bank deregulation left office, so, yeah, I agree it’s a little nuts that the guy is being lionized as a liberal titan.

  156. 156
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PWL:

    But I think you’re going to find out, the hard way, that what we have here is Republican Lite—and that he’s doing a better job of fulfilling the Republican agenda of the 1970s than they could do themselves.

    Fix’d. If you think that Barack Obama is fulfilling the 2011 Republican agenda of shutting off abortion and contraception access, getting rid of civil rights for GLBT people, abolishing unions, and killing off the EPA, you should probably catch up with current events. The “Republican agenda” right now ain’t Reagan’s Republican agenda that you keep accusing Obama of trying to fulfill.

  157. 157
    DFH no.6 says:

    Anecdotal, of course, and I’ve made similar comments on other threads before, but from my own personal experience I find racism to be an absolute bedrock “value” of modern movement conservatism (and, from my understanding of history, to be much the same in whatever analog to modern conservatism you can find in earlier times).

    I’ve lived and worked in deepest red Maricopa County (Sheriff Joe Arpaio country, McCain’s home, teabagger central, SB1070, etc.) for over 3 decades, after spending the first half (or so) of my life in working class inner city Cleveland (mixed white ethnic and black).

    And, going further “into the belly of the beast”, my business (my industry – engineering and construction) is stacked with privileged, white, affluent males (of which I most certainly am one myself) even more than most. And I live on a cul-de-sac in Scottsdale.

    You can guess the ideological outlook of the vast majority of my neighbors and those I work with every day. And every last one of these conservative white adults I know is racist, bar none.

    The casual racist comments in ordinary conversation are ubiquitous, and have increased dramatically (and stayed at that level) since the 2008 presidential campaign. It is inseparable and thoroughly entwined with these people’s conservative worldview, and is a more important part of that worldview than God, guns, or gay.

    Many (probably most) of these people know my ideology differs from theirs, but I pass so easily among them that I’m typically pretty invisible. Or I’m known to be part of such a tiny local minority (liberal) that I don’t count and they don’t care. Either way they usually just let their freak (racist) flags fly. Racist-in-Chief and No. 1 conservative leader Limbaugh – more than any other – rules their world.

    Sure they hate Obama because he’s a Democrat. But they hate him even more because he’s black. Nothing’s more obvious to me than that, and I have no time for anyone making bullshit excuses or pretending otherwise.

    To mix the metaphor a bit (initially referencing “bedrock”) I find that the twin pillars of modern movement conservatism are racism (and the attendant fear of losing white privilege, as Dennis put it) and IGMFY (stated in earlier times as “Devil take the hindmost”).

    Everything else in that rotten, anti-human ideology is built on those two hateful attitudes.

  158. 158
    boss bitch says:

    But I think you’re going to find out, the hard way, that what we have here is Republican Lite—and that he’s doing a better job of fulfilling the Republican agenda than they could do themselves.

    @Corner Stone:

    This is the type of useless criticism that I’m talking about. I know you like to pretend that these things aren’t being said or written but they are and they come from people who should know better, not just anonymous people in the comments section.

  159. 159
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: Clinton caved to the Republicans on welfare and immigration “reform,” and he was terrible on trade.

    However, when the Republicans tried to fuck with Social Security, Clinton shut down the government. Obama proposed a “grand bargain.”

    So it’s not quite as cut-and-dried as you make it out to be.

  160. 160
    Mnemosyne says:

    @boss bitch:

    A couple of weeks ago, Newsweek ran a “primary Obama!” editorial by a supposed Hollywood liberal. It’s not like the insanity is reserved to blogs. The MSM is more than happy to run with a “liberals hate Obama, too!” story.

  161. 161
    Elizabelle says:

    OT, but Congressman Joe Wilson is in the hospital, for an extended fever.

    LOL, because check out story link from Columbia, SC’s “The State”.

    Their headline is “Congressman Wilson in Hospital for Fever.”

    The link is you-lie-congressman-wilson -in ….

    http://www.thestate.com/2011/0.....on-in.html

    I think “You Lie” could go on Wilson’s tombstone. He’ll never escape it.

  162. 162

    @aimai:

    I think that hanging it there is more than a reminder, for Obama, of someone else’s struggle. I think he and Michelle are thinking of their daughters and their role in the ongoing fight.

    I agree, but I also think that as he walks past that painting everyday and thinks of the person who scrawled “nigger” on the wall, a part of him says: “Well fuck you too. Look at me now.”

  163. 163
    Elizabelle says:

    @DFH no.6:

    I find that the twin pillars of modern movement conservatism are racism (and the attendant fear of losing white privilege, as Dennis put it) and IGMFY (stated in earlier times as “Devil take the hindmost”).

    Agreed, but you have to add fundamentalist Christianism into the witches’ brew too. It sanctifies the mix, even as its adherents don’t realize Jesus Christ would be horrified at how they misuse his teachings.

    All these Christianists, making the world safe for Pharisees.

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    However, when the Republicans tried to fuck with Social Security, Clinton shut down the government. Obama proposed a “grand bargain.”
    __
    So it’s not quite as cut-and-dried as you make it out to be.

    … and then, a few weeks later, Clinton signed legislation that gave Republicans (some of) what they wanted. In other words, Clinton caved.

    You’re right, it’s not as cut and dried as you seem to think. Clinton was really good at talking tough in public and then quietly collapsing to Republican demands. Obama does the opposite (not a tough talker, but manages to prevent Republicans from doing any actual damage) but apparently not collapsing the way Clinton did makes Obama the Worstest President Ever.

  165. 165
    rikryah says:

    didn’t think Rockwell had it in him. I remember being younger, studying American art, and finding out about this painting. the brutal, in your face honesty of the painting shocked me.

  166. 166
    Ben Cisco says:

    I’m cheered by the fact that the painting is there, not to mention inspired by the fact that this man (who clearly needs no reminder of the virulently depraved racist asshats among us) CHOOSES to have it there.
    __
    The amount of shit President Obama has to put up with on a daily, hell, HOURLY basis from what seems to be all quarters is nothing less than infuriating, and I say that as a man only slightly younger than he is. I am in no way whatsoever nearly as accomplished as he, but I will say that the “criticisms” he has had to deal with regarding the usual AA stereotypes are familiar and nauseating. No one could have handled the last two-plus years better than he has, and sure as shit no one running or contemplating running will either.
    __
    Can’t wait for 2012. CAN’T WAIT!

  167. 167
    RosiesDad says:

    @Elie:

    You think that “fighting” is screaming and belittling your opponents, right?

    No. I think “fighting” is persistently making an argument for your point of view rather than sitting back and letting your opponent win the messaging war. You can be intelligent and reasonable AND unrelenting in your pursuit to win support of your policies. How large a majority of the American people supported allowing the Bush tax cuts on the top 2% expire? (Republicans and independents included) And yet, at the end of the day, they were extended with little to no fight. Obama could have won this battle if he had bothered to fight it. (Even if it meant shutting the government down for a few days or even weeks. He had the public behind him and he could have hung it around Boehner’s, Cantor’s and McConnell’s necks. But he didn’t even really try.)

  168. 168
    OzoneR says:

    @PWL:

    Hope you remember that when you’re waiting till age 70 to get your first much-reduced Social Security check….

    Some of us gave up any hope of ever getting Social Security a long time ago.

  169. 169
    Corner Stone says:

    @boss bitch:bitch, I don’t “like to pretend” anything of the sort.

  170. 170
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    However, when the Republicans tried to fuck with Social Security, Clinton shut down the government. Obama proposed a “grand bargain.”

    Clinton was white and from Arkansas, he had white working class voters behind him, Obama is black and he does not, they voted for, and are still overwhelmingly supporting, tea party bullshit because of racism.

    That’s what the whole fucking diary is about.

  171. 171
    dww44 says:

    @Jennifer: I don’t agree that Southern white opposition to integration was:

    All done so that white southerners, in their defeat, could continue to feel superior to at least someone.
    That’s really what it all stemmed from. That’s what it still stems from, except for these days it’s the province more of a state of low intellect/education rather than a region.

    As a lifelong white Southerner who attended segregated schools in the 50’s and early 60s and then went on, as a teacher, to be a part of the very first integration years in public schools in my state, I clearly remember the conflicting emotions that most of us felt. It was the fear of fundamental change in our society and culture, not some sort of deeply held belief that we were better than our black neighbors. Nevertheless, a great many of us came to accept these changes without resorting to violence, or bombast, or racial screeds.

    I was part of Johnson’s first HeadStart programs the summer I graduated from college. I was an aide to a Black teacher in the heretofore all black elementary school in my home town, a building I had never before entered. I also remember that my Mother, herself a daughter of a sharecropper and a hardworking widow employed at minimum wage in a nearby factory, was a bit uncomfortable with my breaking the color barrier in our little town but she never said a word to discourage me from so doing. And there was no overt racial animus directed at me from any segment of that small rural community.

    Yes, there are racist attitudes still prevalent in the South today, but I would submit they aren’t confined to the South. Is the tea party a solely Southern phenomenon? I don’t think so. Is it rooted in racist attitudes? I think so. But then it could also be explained as a long running example of nativism, as one of the prominent commenters at this blog claims ad infinitum.

    Note: I post this without reading any of the subsequent comments to the one to which I am responding.

  172. 172
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne: Clinton didn’t cave on Social Security. On other things, yes, but he at least had something he was willing to stand up for.

    As for your other comment? Right. Extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich didn’t do any actual damage.

    Whenever I forget how disconnected from reality Obama supporters are, they take it upon themselves to remind me. So, thanks for that.

  173. 173
    RosiesDad says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    He fights quietly, doggedly, and intelligently.

    I respectfully disagree. I believe that he is incredibly intelligent and I think that he probably shares most of my values but a fighter? No, I don’t really see it. I didn’t see him send the DOJ after the crooks on Wall Street who blew up the economy. (Now there are rumblings about S&P being investigated and Blankfein’s got an attorney but I’ll not hold my breath waiting for grand juries, subpoenas or indictments. Would love to see it but…) Didn’t see him working to get his caucus together to pass a budget before the midterms (which would have made the deal to extend the Bush tax cuts unnecessary). Didn’t see him fight the Rethugs on those same Bush tax cuts in December. Didn’t see a big fight over the debt ceiling even after he offered the GOP even more than they initially asked for. Didn’t see a fight to get Elizabeth Warren appointed or any of the many judges and other officials being obstructed by the GOP in the Senate. But maybe I’m just not seeing what is going on behind closed doors….

  174. 174
    RosiesDad says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Obama does the opposite (not a tough talker, but manages to prevent Republicans from doing any actual damage) but apparently not collapsing the way Clinton did makes Obama the Worstest President Ever.

    He didn’t prevent the Republicans from extending the Bush tax cuts. Gitmo is still open. HCR was watered down and includes huge gifts to Big Health, Big Insurance and Big Pharma that were unnecessary and expensive. The debt ceiling deal didn’t include any tax increases (and I predict neither will whatever comes out of the Super Committee) even though most rational people realize that you cannot address the deficit or the debt without increasing taxes.

    But you are right that it is not that simple, that cut and dried or that black and white. (Of course, realizing that there is nuance, contest and shades of grey is what separates us from the other guys, right?)

    BTW, Clinton also signed the CFMA and GLB which paved the way for the economic disaster we are currently experiencing.

  175. 175
    Elie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    ..and it IS damaging…

    I am sick of hearing these firebagger assholes say that its just about their being ‘free’ to express their opinions. There is plenty of room to express concerns and even those of us who support Obama have them. That said, there is no lying about the negative energy behind the same comments, many factually incorrect, that are repeated over and over. Why do you say those things — those negative, not helpful things that have been said over and over? You say them because you want to bring down the positive, bring down the morale of those who would sustain progress.

    These firebaggers or whatever you want to call them, are fake. They are NOT principled observers wanting to weigh in to help our cause to move things forward — or they would acknowledge progress and success — which they NEVER do. Another attribute is the complete unwillingness to accept correction when errors are pointed out… a pointed sign that facts are not central to their arguments or points of view — something else is obviously the goal and that something else is about demoralizing the movement. Who does that? Traitors, right wingers and pointless narcissists. I coddle none of these with the dignity of respect or anything but being reviled.

    We have a free country and I would oppose restricting their access to this or any other blog. That said, I find them beyond repugnant and the contempt is deeper than I feel for the right winged teahadists, racists and their ilk… assuming of course that they really ARE progressive (which I mostly doubt).

    It amazes me that so many here spend time talkin to these people, trying to engage them in a discussion that from the outset is bound to be unsuccessful. They are unconvinceable and my time, even if doing nothing, is more valuable than throwing it away on that negative, pointless energy.

  176. 176
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    Clinton didn’t cave on Social Security. On other things, yes, but he at least had something he was willing to stand up for.

    oh did he?

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04.....urity.html

    http://www.twf.org/News/Y1999/0118-RobPoor.html

  177. 177
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Yes, certainly, toxic rightwing Christianity (fundamentalist mostly, but not entirely) is a very important part of the witches’ brew of modern movement conservatism (in the U.S., anyway).

    And the Jesus of The Sermon on the Mount and the camel passing through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man gaining heaven (whoever he may have been, and as a very lapsed Catholic and all I have my doubts) would most definitely be horrified, as you say, at those on the right who use his name in vain. Rightwing Christians are absolutely modern-day Pharisees, through and through.

    I think the most important thing that rightwing religiousity provides modern conservatism is the millions of loyal culture war foot-soldiers available for American electoral campaigns and the elections themselves. It also helps give the veneer of “we stand for noble and traditional values” that is crucial to catapulting the propaganda of what is, at core, a vile, retrograde, and anti-human approach to running civilization.

    But I don’t think it’s foundational, like racism and – most important of all – IGMFY are.

    In the same way the other two “g’s” (pro-gun and anti-gay) are very important but not bedrock.

    I know plenty of conservatives who are not particularly religious (some are even atheists) or don’t care one way or another about gun rights or who other people have sex with. My own baby brother (came of age during Reagan’s lamentable reign) fits two out of three of those.

    But I’ve never met one white conservative – not one, including that baby brother – who wasn’t racist, and whose primary value in life wasn’t I Got Mine, Fuck You. Those are foundational.

    Oh, and the relatively few but all too real movement conservative people of color? They’re fucking kapos, the lot of them, wholly embracing “Devil take the hindmost” while serving masters who don’t consider them fully human, but useful to their purposes nonetheless.

    That’s the brutal goddamn truth.

  178. 178
    JWL says:

    “His father was black, I agree with his politics, so take your political criticisms of the man and shove them where the sun don’t shine, you racist swine”.

  179. 179
    Tone In DC says:

    @lethargytartare:

    it is constantly fascinating to me just how many unbigoted progressive critics of Obama instantly feel accused of racism any time a front pager metions that Obama is black.

    yes, very interesting.

    Can I get an amen.

  180. 180
    Stealing Magnolias says:

    Terrific post, dengre. That last sentence was like a punch to the gut.

  181. 181
    Brachiator says:

    @Danny:

    That’s false, it’s the other way around, and I showed him by getting the numbers and doing the math. He then pivoted to complaining about the aggregate tax code not being progressive enough and Obama should have done more about it.
    __
    He got the idea from David Dayen at FDL.

    You are a liar, plain and simple.

    And let’s be clear on another thing. Last December, before I noticed you on these boards, I wrote that Obama should have killed the Bush tax cuts deader than dead. No deal, even if it resulted in pain. There is not that much that Obama can do because he can’t write tax legislation. But he can veto the shit out of the worst shit that the Republicans put before him.

    And there may be an alternate universe in which a flat tax cut with no income phaseout is “progressive,” but not in any universe in which real people live. I am still waiting for you to explain how a payroll tax cut which gives fewer dollars to lower income people than the old Making Work Pay Credit is “progressive.”

    As far as I can see, the only thing that you showed anyone is that your sophistry is as bad as your math skills.

  182. 182
    Elie says:

    @RosiesDad:

    What’s your goal, Rosie’sdad?

    What have you tackled in your life that was large in scope and required any kind of campaign? If you had such an experience, what would you want of your various project leads? Would you want them to spend their time pointing out your errors of whatever was being undertaken, or would you want them targeting affirmative actions to move in the positive direction? If the project lead called on a given direction, would you spend time telling the people that report to you , what a mistake the various decisions are and what should be done instead? If you felt that something was in serious jeaopardy, how would you communicate it without fracturing the confidence for the mission in all those around you?

    Think about your child, Rosie. Did she respond to only negative criticism of her “accomplishments”, or did she like hearing positive feedback and helpful information on how to improve?

    You are not stupid, but you seem dense. Its common sense. Humans like leadership that is confident for sure. Its great if we can undertake big uncertain things and not make mistakes but its extremely unusual for that to happen. Once you have a mistake or a deviance of any kind, banging away on the mistake and the negative does nothing but deepen the inability to think creatively and energetically to move forward.

    Your “theory” of activism and getting things “done” — needs work, Daddy. LOTS of work. I would hate to work for you or with you on anything difficult.

  183. 183
    Lydgate says:

    @Stealing Magnolias: Oh yes, that last sentence was classy.

  184. 184
    Elizabelle says:

    This has been a really interesting thread.

  185. 185
    Elie says:

    @Tone In DC:

    Amen

    Hey, there are no racist progressives, are there?

    Uh-huhn

  186. 186
    ABL says:

    great post, dengre.

    i got a little teary.

    i wish my dog would stop cutting onions…

  187. 187
    rootless_e says:

    ” Clinton didn’t cave on”

    I’m so tired of the racist stupidity. Can’t you people join the GOP and waste their time while sharing stories about how a black man can’t really be a Leader?

  188. 188
    Elizabelle says:

    @ABL:

    that’s funny

  189. 189
    Danny says:

    @Brachiator:

    You are a liar, plain and simple.

    How so? I debunked you starting here, and in none of you’re many responses were you ever able to produce any you know numbers to show how I was wrong. You just wanted to change the subject to a million other things.

    And let’s be clear on another thing. Last December, before I noticed you on these boards, I wrote that Obama should have killed the Bush tax cuts deader than dead. No deal, even if it resulted in pain. There is not that much that Obama can do because he can’t write tax legislation. But he can veto the shit out of the worst shit that the Republicans put before him.

    That’s great, Braccie, but that is once again irrelevant to the question of whether the Payroll Tax Holiday is a bad deal for low income workers and a sweet deal for upper income workers. You & David Dayen say it is, but that’s false.

    And there may be an alternate universe in which a flat tax cut with no income phaseout is “progressive,” but not in any universe in which real people live. I am still waiting for you to explain how a payroll tax cut which gives fewer dollars to lower income people than the old Making Work Pay Credit is “progressive.”

    You’re not waiting for that at all because I crunched the numbers and showed you, starting here. If you take the time to read through our little exchange you find that you never responded in any other way than by saying that you “Fuck with the IRS” for a living, and you’ve “never lost”.

    But once again, the 2% tax refund is capped at ~2k for people making above ~100k which means that the payroll tax holiday is a transfer of wealth from people who make above ~100k a month to people who make below ~100 k a month.

    That’s because the future debt service on the 111 Billion $ loan that we take to pay for the tax holiday is paid for not only by payroll taxes but by income taxes as well (and corporate taxes), and there’s no cap on how much of your income you can pay in income taxes. The rich pay more in the future than they get today, the poor get more today than they pay in the future. Easy as pie, right?

    (The Making Work Pay Credit is a red herring because it expired at the end of 2010. It’s not part of the baseline. That was pointed out to you many times, but since you’re arguing in bad faith you keep forgetting)

    As far as I can see, the only thing that you showed anyone is that your sophistry is as bad as your math skills.

    That would be more convincing if you ever had even tried to challenge my math in the old thread, but you just went on about a bunch of irrelevant stuff. Not saying that it’s not possible that I got some numbers wrong – IANAE – but you never tried to challenge it, you just tried to change the subject.

  190. 190
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Dennis G.:

    It is more than possible to question and challenge this President’s policies without using racist tropes, dog whistles and memes. Lot’s of folks do it and there are always legitimate reasons to call out this or that policy of ANY President.

    You must be new here. To criticize President Obama’s policies and/or actions is to be a racist. There is no greater love for the balloonbagger than to level this charge. Even I have been accused of it. It’s like a well-worn teabag cozy to them.
    .
    .

  191. 191
    Danny says:

    @Danny:

    there’s no cap on how much of your income money you can pay in income taxes

    Fixed.

  192. 192

    […] G. has a great post over at Balloon Juice about Ruby Bridges, Obama, and the famous Norman ROckwell painting which hangs in the hallway leading to the Oval Office.  The entire post is a must read, but his final thought is a gutshot: Racism is a fact of life for […]

  193. 193
    Danny says:

    @Danny:

    ~100 k a month year

    Proof-read, must remember to.

  194. 194
    WaterGirl says:

    @lamh32: Are you the same person as lamh31 over at Boomans? Before I noticed the 31/32 difference, I assumed it was you and I was shocked to see this:

    So approval rating is at 38%, the left has left him, the right won’t elect him, and he’s lost the unions…is it too late for Obama to decide to not run?

  195. 195

    @WaterGirl:
    If the left has left Obama and he still has 38% approval, it is going to be a landslide reelection. That 38% has to come from somewhere. If he could get 38% and then a portion of the left comes home: 60% of the vote here we come.

  196. 196
    Jenny says:

    Instead of the Norman Rockwell painting, they should post Jane Hamsher’s masterpiece.

  197. 197
    Elizabelle says:

    @The Other Bob:

    Way reassuring!

    Also, FWIW, the left that has “left” President Obama will not likely prosper under President Perry or President Romney. (Unless they’re punditubbies and professional whiners.)

    A lot of them will suck it up and vote. Unless they’re dumb asses and don’t remember the examples of Ralph Nader in 2000 (wheee) and John Anderson in 1980 (hello there Mr. Reagan).

    I’d rather send the purists to Costa Rica before I have to move there myself as asylum from the GOP destroying their way back into office.

  198. 198
    WaterGirl says:

    @The Other Bob: Well, I was shocked to see that she would be suggesting that Obama not run!

  199. 199
    NR says:

    @rootless_e: Obama isn’t a leader. And it’s got nothing to do with his race, no matter how many bullshit charges of racism his supporters throw out.

  200. 200
    rootless_e says:

    @NR: Of course you are right. Leaders are white. QED.

  201. 201
    WaterGirl says:

    @Ben Cisco: My first thought when I saw the article about the painting yesterday was to wonder if this was Obama’s quiet way of saying “I see exactly what you [teabaggers, birthers, the media, and other racists] are up to, day after day, and it’s the same thing you tried to do back then, when all this little girl was trying to do was go to school.

    Edit: Forgot to say that I agreed with everything you said.

  202. 202
    NR says:

    @rootless_e: Thank you for perfectly illustrating the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Obama supporters.

    And when all those unemployed people vote Republican next year, just call them all racists. It’ll give you the satisfaction of knowing that you live in a racist country and you’re surrounded everywhere by dirty, dirty racists.

  203. 203
    rootless_e says:

    I’m happy to help. The next time some racist idiot wants to explain how Clinton was a tough cookie compared to Obama, I will be happy to school you again – but I fear your ignorance is resistant to education. Those of us who know Clinton’s record, from the destruction of “welfare as we know it” to the Dick Morris Toe-Sucking Era, find that racism is the only plausible explanation for such a counter-factual view.

  204. 204
    NR says:

    @rootless_e: You haven’t schooled anybody, bud. Nothing you’ve said has any connection whatsoever to reality. All you’ve done is, again, illustrate your own intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Par for the course with Obama supporters these days. I guess bullshit accusations of racism are all you have left. Sad.

  205. 205
    Elie says:

    @rootless_e:

    Root:

    Please do not play with it. Leave it alone and be sure to wash your hands now that you played with it.

  206. 206
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NR:

    Clinton didn’t cave on Social Security. On other things, yes, but he at least had something he was willing to stand up for.

    Dude, it’s right there in the legislation! Did you even bother to follow the link?

    Republicans wanted changes to Social Security. Clinton agreed to those changes. On what planet is that not a “cave”?

    As for your other comment? Right. Extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich didn’t do any actual damage.

    As compared to DADT, DOMA, repealing Glass-Steagall, NAFTA, and all of the other neo-con bullshit that Clinton happily signed off on?

    Sorry, extending the Bush tax cuts is small potatoes compared to the structural damage Clinton did to our financial system.

  207. 207
    Elie says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Half of these folks are just spoofs and the other half are spoof wanabes…

    The actual undecided progressives are probably few and young or homeless/poor.

  208. 208
    NR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Dude, it’s right there in the legislation! Did you even bother to follow the link?

    The only thing your link mentions with respect to Social Security is raising the earnings test. That’s not a cut in SS benefits, that’s the exact opposite.

  209. 209
    Mnemosyne says:

    @RosiesDad:

    He didn’t prevent the Republicans from extending the Bush tax cuts.

    He exchanged the Bush tax cut extension for unemployment benefit extensions and DADT repeal. You can argue that the exchange wasn’t worth it, but there is no question that it was an exchange, not a cave.

    Gitmo is still open.

    Thanks to the 96 US Senators who voted to keep it open.

    HCR was watered down and includes huge gifts to Big Health, Big Insurance and Big Pharma that were unnecessary and expensive.

    And yet it passed, and it’s working. Medicare costs are already going down as providers anticipate the changes in PPACA. Continuing to bitch and moan about how PPACA was passed and who it benefited at the time seems counterproductive when we can spend our time lobbying for changes to make it even stronger.

    The debt ceiling deal didn’t include any tax increases (and I predict neither will whatever comes out of the Super Committee) even though most rational people realize that you cannot address the deficit or the debt without increasing taxes.

    It did not include tax increases, but it also didn’t include any significant cuts (and, IIRC, was actually a net increase in the budget), apparently because the Republicans in Congress have no idea how the budget actually works. If I were scoring it as a sport, I would have to call it a tie, not a loss (or win) for either side.

    I’m not arguing that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. I’m just pointing out that the Golden Age of Clinton included a whole lot of golden showers that were worse than anything Obama has done so far. He’s certainly not the Worst President Evah! that NR seems to think, but I suspect that’s because NR is too young to remember actual policies in Clinton’s era and only remembers the cool speeches he saw on the teevee.

  210. 210
    Elizabelle says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Well said (comment 201) and agree with Ben Cisco at 166 or thereabouts, as you do.

  211. 211
    Plantsmantx says:

    @Mino: @lamh32:

    The statue doesn’t look Asian, it looks like MLK. Do a Google search, and you’ll see that the eyes are accurately rendered. As for the pose, etc….well, he wasn’t Uncle Remus or your old family retainer, you know.

  212. 212
    agrippa says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Hear Hear!

  213. 213
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Mino: The Vietnam Memorial was very controversial. It was a radical departure from other war memorials. There were no larger than life heroic sculptures, gold leaf & ubiquitous flags . It was plain black stone, and honored, by name those who died. It was designed by a young Asian woman who was a nobody. Fox News would hemorrhage with rage if you tried to do it now. I don’t think you could build it now.

    ETA: Thanks for the post Doug.

  214. 214
    Brachiator says:

    @Danny:

    How so? I debunked you starting here, and in none of you’re many responses were you ever able to produce any you know numbers to show how I was wrong. You just wanted to change the subject to a million other things.

    You didn’t even debunk me in your dreams. And you did write this:

    Now it’s true that the payroll tax holiday is less progressive than the Making Work Pay credit.

    But I did not post my reply to debate you any more (that would clearly be a waste of time), but for the sake of anyone else who might be reading the thread.

    The Making Work Pay Credit is a red herring because it expired at the end of 2010. It’s not part of the baseline. That was pointed out to you many times, but since you’re arguing in bad faith you keep forgetting.

    I have no idea why you keep babbling about “bad faith,” which is irrelevant to little things like facts and accuracy. It is absurd to pretend that the Making Work Pay Credit never existed, since the whole point was to replace it with the payroll tax credit. And the payroll tax credit is a worse deal for lower income workers than the Making Work Pay Credit.

    The larger point is that Obama keeps talking (reasonably) about maximizing tax cuts for those with incomes less than $250,000 (depending on filing status, etc) and how the wealthy should pay their fair share. But the Republicans keep moving him to their tax policy preferences.

    Now, people can argue that this is the best deal possible, but to argue that this crap, including the payroll tax cut, is living the progressive dream, is delusional.

    I honestly don’t why you have such a deep need to deny reality. But it sure is funny to watch.

  215. 215

    @Mnemosyne:

    It was more than just DADT and UE bennies. It was also a fairly massive stimulus bill

    Firstly, passing the new Bush Tax cut that is now fairly should be called the Obama Tax Cut Extension, kept about 400 billion in the economy and middle class pay checks to be spent for stim to economy.

    It extended the first stim bill FICA cuts benefiting lower income folks, that is some of the fastest stimulus spending there is.

    Plus

    Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and the tax credit increases for college tuition (American Opportunity Tax Credit) adopted in 2009 as part of the economic stimulus package will be extended.

    So many of these idiots argue out of one side of their mouths that Obama should have let all the tax cuts expire, being his only choice. And then turn around whining about not enough gov stimulus for a recovery. Like children with nanosecond attention span, and what ever else is there for shallow stupid political analysis to flog Obama with. And no, not all tax cuts are bad, especially when given the poor, especially when the poor will it fast and stimulus economic activity, which it a good thing right now.

    And yes, you are an idiot, or just plain dishonest to simply day after day regurgitate the same bullshit memes of Obama fail, that are seriously fact challenged, as are you.
    And is why we call you what you call yourselves, or did at one time. Firebaggers. Same mini minds as the right wing teabaggers.

  216. 216

    But the Republicans keep moving him to their tax policy preferences.

    Their tax policy is regressive taxation, on principle. So in reality, the Bush Tax cut extensions was not exactly their policy preference. Both sides, or neither side got their complete policy preference.

    And the payroll tax cut, they also hate on principle, is also not the right wing policy preference. Which is to not only see to it that the rich pay no, or little tax, but that the poor are getting a free ride because they normally don’t pay any income tax, but do pay a bunch of other kinds of taxes, that wingnuts ignore in their demagoguery.

  217. 217
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Mnemosyne: You might want to do some homework, normal retirement age maxes out at 67, not 70. And I believe the retirement age changes were done in the Reagan administration.

  218. 218
    lamh34 says:

    @WaterGirl: I am the same one. it seems to me that that is all the response that was needed to the post by Steve D. It seemed like the next likely step to the tone of Steve D’s post.

  219. 219
    boss bitch says:

    @Corner Stone:

    bitch, I don’t “like to pretend” anything of the sort.

    LOL. You are so corny. I see you. I know your game.

  220. 220
    lamh34 says:

    @Plantsmantx: if you followed my comments on this thread, then you will see that I never said that the statue “looked Asian” that was a quote from Huffington Post. In fact, I am the one saying to Mino et al, that the statue is NOT the important part of the memoiral, whatever you think of it.

    I don’t have a problem with the statue. Others on this thread did, and that was who I was responding to.

  221. 221
    RosiesDad says:

    @Elie:

    What’s your goal, Rosie’sdad?

    To try and leave as good a world for my kids as my parents’ generation left for me.

    What have you tackled in your life that was large in scope..?

    Well, at age 28 I decided that I wanted to fulfill my childhood dream to become a veterinarian. So I left my job, went back to school full time and got accepted to an Ivy League veterinary college. Along the way, I got married to a woman who went to medical school (she’s now a poor primary care physician and I am fortunate enough to earn enough to support us both), fathered three children, remained married for over 20 years now (statistically, we had about a 12% chance of remaining married due to the stresses of school, residency, debt, etc, etc.)

    And now, in my spare time, I work to support political candidates who I believe will help fix the mess. Locally, at the state level and nationally. I worked hard to help get Obama elected and I donated substantially (within my means) to his campaign. And I cheered and cried when he was declared the winner because I believed he was the best person for the job and was glad that he won because we were in a world of shit.

    But the rose colored glasses came off when he appointed Larry Summers to be his Chief Economic Advisor, kept Bernanke at the Fed and appointed Tim Geithner–another consummate Wall Street insider (even if he hasn’t cashed in—yet)–to run the Treasury Department. Because this triumvirate would ensure that the biggest banks would be protected and the status quo preserved.

    Is he better than Bush? By orders of magnitude. Is he better than McCain would have been? No doubt. Is this Change I Can Believe In? No, not really. It is mostly preservation of the status quo. At the end of Obama’s 4 or 8 years, the rich will be richer, the poor and middle class will still be struggling. Did it have to be this way? Maybe. But I had hoped not.

    I would hate to work for you or with you on anything difficult.

    That’s possible. But it’s also possible that you don’t know shit about me and are casting judgement based on a bunch of incorrect assumptions. Further, I don’t really care what you think. I am in a stressful profession but the majority of my staff–my associates, office manager, reception staff, etc.–have been with me for many years and none of them are leaving any time soon. That’s my track record and I’m pretty damned happy with it.

  222. 222
    lamh34 says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I meant that comment as snark. Which I figures people would get since I’ve posted at Booman before and for all intends and purposes can be called an O-bot on occasion.

    But isn’t it essentially the implicit tone of Steven D’s post?

    I’m sure it was meant as a “wake-up call”, but it came off as another Obama losing his base argument, so my next thought was then okay, he’s lost his base, then why even fight for re-election? Obama should get out now right???

  223. 223
    JerseyJeffersonian says:

    So Richard Trumka is some whining (and probably at root racist) dumbass, eh?

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201.....xing-jobs/

    Well, good to know.

    But, you know, there might be an alternative explanation for Mr. Trumka’s whining. Such as, not being at all impressed by the lack of tangible support for labor rights after the promises to stand with working people. Who were studiously ignored in the struggles in Wisconsin. Who have been similarly treated in their battles in Ohio to roll back anti-union legislation. So here’s the thing: if anything would be able to persuade the white working class, with their icky crypto-racist sympathies, that the Black Guy is really okay, and maybe worthy of being supported (!), maybe actually going to bat for their interests might reap a harvest of votes. This by way of contrast with the failing efforts to enlist the sympathies of the “centrists”, A/K/A incipient conservatives who outsource their principles to the Perfumed Princes of the Beltway.

    Good on ya, Rich, for trying to push back, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

  224. 224
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He exchanged the Bush tax cut extension for unemployment benefit extensions and DADT repeal. You can argue that the exchange wasn’t worth it, but there is no question that it was an exchange, not a cave.

    It was a cave. And it was unnecessary. And it certainly was not an equitable exchange.

    And it set a terrible precedent. All the Republicans have to do is identify some group which might be hurt in the short term, and the Democrats will give them whatever they want. I can see the Democrats trying to get an extension of COBRA benefits, and the GOP saying, “sure no problem, and let’s extend those tax cuts one more time otherwise you get nothing.”

    There were a number of major tax items on the table and had the Republicans not caved, millions of tax payers would have seen an immediate tax increase for 2010. The IRS commissioner wrote a letter to Congress pointing out that failure to act on the items on the table would result in tax processing delays (which happened) and that one GOP proposal (retroactive fixes) would cause massive chaos. The Democrats would have been able to kick GOP ass for a 100 years had this happened.

    Instead, Obama and the Democrats gave the Republicans what they wanted in exchange for an extension of UI benefits. And the tax plan that was largely agreed to was largely written by Republicans and included all their pet policies.

    And also remember that the Democrats gave up the right to write tax legislation in order to try to protect Blue Dog Democrats, who ended up getting tossed in the mid terms anyway. Then, when the new Congress came in, the Democrats no longer had an advantage.

  225. 225
    RosiesDad says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not arguing that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. I’m just pointing out that the Golden Age of Clinton included a whole lot of golden showers that were worse than anything Obama has done so far. He’s certainly not the Worst President Evah! that NR seems to think, but I suspect that’s because NR is too young to remember actual policies in Clinton’s era and only remembers the cool speeches he saw on the teevee

    I don’t believe that I canonized Clinton in anything I said nor did I say that Obama was the Worst President Evah. What I did say was that I thought he should have been more out front in trying to do some of the important things and that I think he capitulates to the Republicans too easily, even on issues where public opinion backs him and not them.

    Specifically on the budget deal, I think he should have been more forceful with Pelosi and Reid in the spring/summer of 2008 to get a budget out of the House and Senate well ahead of the midterms so that it was done and would not be an issue in the event of a lame duck session. And they didn’t get it done. Pelosi’s failure, Reid’s failure but arguably Obama’s failure of leadership. And then when it ended up an issue in the lame duck, he didn’t get enough in exchange for extending all of the Bush tax cuts. (The debt ceiling should have been done at this time, IMHO.) Maybe good intentions but a poor negotiator. And because he gave in and didn’t get a debt ceiling deal done, the Rethugs knew that they could hold the country hostage again in a few months. Which they did.

    So what I’m saying is that for all Obama has done–and I credit him for doing a lot in a fairly hostile environment–he would be better served if he improved his messaging and if he made the GOP pay for their positions. (Instead of going to Iowa to give speeches, why doesn’t he go to Eric Cantor’s district? And John Boehner’s district. Take the fight to those assholes. Lord knows they are not shy about taking the fight to him.)

  226. 226

    It is mostly preservation of the status quo. At the end of Obama’s 4 or 8 years, the rich will be richer, the poor and middle class will still be struggling. Did it have to be this way? Maybe. But I had hoped not.

    Now that is impressive, reading the future like that. Wish I could, but seem stuck, as it were, in the mundane world of incremental change, caused by our asshole founders, who seem to have done all they could to make change slow, and yes, incremental.

    I am sorry sir, but you are woefully uninformed to claim the status quo is being maintained. Given you comments in this thread, you, like others seem to not know that change is rarely for the ideal in short order, in a constitutional democracy.

    And the near utter lack of any effort to look any deeper than the liberal ideal not realized in just 3 years, is so completely devoid of any historical perspective, it serves more to validate Dennis G’s theme in this thread, than to debunk it.

    In a few years, I hope they poll the 35 million folks who will for many, for the first time, have access to proper medical care. Not to mention the millions who do have policies with legal recourse to being denied bennies when they got sick. I suspect their idea of “Change We Can Believe In” will be a bit more affirming than yours is.

    We don’t have time for this butthurt whining. We have a POTUS election on the horizon, and the wingnuts want to win it bad. If you are going to offer little more than disappointment born of unrealistic expectations, then that is your right. But please, if you don’t mind, move yer whiny ass out of the way. Thank You

  227. 227
    RosiesDad says:

    @Brachiator: Agree with basically your entire post.

  228. 228
    gogol's wife says:

    @General Stuck:

    What amazes me is the sheer ENERGY that goes into these detailed explanations of how Obama is so bad. Don’t they see the iceberg in front of the ship? Why don’t they put their energy into trying to avert our hitting it? There has never been and will never be a perfect progressive president (except in the dreams of those who don’t really know their history). Put your energy in the right place. Obama is trying to move mountains, and they’re complaining that he’s not moving them fast enough. Help him, stop helping the enemy.
    ETA: Lots of mixed metaphors here, but I’m so angry at the way our side seems determined to lose this election.

  229. 229
    Danny says:

    @Brachiator:

    Agreed, re: pointless.

    It’s obvious you have conceded the argument w/r/t the payroll tax cut being a redistribution of wealth from people making more than ~100k/yr to people making less than ~100k/yr, because I think 5 times now have I done the math and every single freaking time you haven’t challenged a single word of it. That speaks volumes. Put another way: your bad faith is on display for anyone who’s patient and interested enough to follow this travesty.

    What you do instead is you just dont respond to that part but opt to go on and on about stuff that is irrelevant, e.g. the Bush tax cuts and the Making Work Pay credit. But what you said from the start was that the payroll tax holiday was regressive legislation that was a bad deal for low income workers and a sweet one for upper income workers. I’ve shown that to be false.

    W/r/t to Making Work Pay, I already explained this to you in the last thread, and you never adressed it there, but I’ll explain it to you yet again:

    The Making Work Pay credit was part of ARRA and even more progressive than the payroll tax holiday. It was a temporary refund of 400 bucks set to expire at the end of 2010.

    The payroll tax holiday didnt replace Making Work Pay because Making Work Pay was set to expire in 2010. If anyone would have wanted it to last forever they could have freaking done so but it was never intended to be anything else than temporary – it was part of the stimulus. It is an ex-credit as of jan 1, 2011 – just as intended all along.

    The payroll tax holiday was passed as additional stimulus – only when it was passed democrats had less leverage because we had just lost – 7 / – 70 in the midterms and the new teabagger nuts were about to be seated. Because of that, the payroll tax holiday is less redistributive from rich to poor, but it’s still redistributive from rich to poor.

    Given that latter fact that you should grok by now, it is still just as fucking wrong to say that extending the payroll tax holiday is a “bad deal” for low income workers and a “sweet deal” for upper income workers.

    Just as a reminder, this is where you started out:

    The payroll tax cut that Obama and the Democrats agreed to already screws poor people and throws money at upper income groups. […]
    The payroll tax cut is a bad deal for low income workers, but a sweeter deal for upper income workers.

    That was bullshit. You. Were. Wrong.

  230. 230

    @RosiesDad:

    Agree with basically your entire post.

    I didn’t. I think he was full of shit, just like you

  231. 231
    Brachiator says:

    @General Stuck: RE: Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit and the tax credit increases for college tuition (American Opportunity Tax Credit) adopted in 2009 as part of the economic stimulus package will be extended.

    So many of these idiots argue out of one side of their mouths that Obama should have let all the tax cuts expire, being his only choice.

    I think he should be have been willing to sacrifice them in order to kill the Bush tax cuts. I heard today that if the payroll tax cuts and the Bush tax cuts are extended again, this will mean a $5 trillion increase in the deficit over 10 years.

    And it WAS NOT that the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit would have gone away. It is that INCREASES to these credits would have expired.

    But then again, I think the GOP would have caved, or that Obama could have got more (like an agreement to get Elizabeth Warren confirmed). Or maybe not. But I think it would have been worth the risk.

  232. 232
    Elie says:

    @RosiesDad:

    You SHOULD be proud of your track record and having accomplished all that you have, and seeing how much effort that took to negotiate your education, hiring of staff and making all the exchanges, its hard to see how you don’t understand how our government and other large change endeavors work. You don’t.

    It appears from what you posted that you believed that you could vote in a complete revolution — that one President in two years could,without significant help from the Congress and us — make all the fixes to the system that took years to break. That is a naivete that is hard to understand in light of the scope of life you have undertaken.

    To put it in a context that you are probably familiar with: what if someone brings in their dog who got hit by a car and has signficant injuries, fractures and multiple internal injuries. Bringing the dog back would require many complex efforts from you and would require working cooperatively with your team. At any point in time over the immediate acute period, the dog might look like YOU were failing in healing him. Yet you know that healing is a complex process requiring external and many internal processes. Some of these you can control. Others are instrinsic to the dog or the organ system and other mysterious realities on why some part of healing work and others don’t. If the dog’s family asked you when he would run again, you would answer that it depends on many things and that indeed, he might never be the same, but that you would do what you could with your team and also help the family to understand what they need to do. At the end of the process, healing might not be perfect, but Lord knows, if he can walk or enjoy life, most likely the family would give you the benefit of knowing that you tried and did the best you could for their loved pet.

    You won’t give Obama or this administration the same respect accorded to you given uncertain cirucmstances. Why is that? Is there something about him that you deem incompetent in some way that prevents that? Maybe there is a bias you have? Why do you expect any one person in a system as complex as we have and the “patient” as ill as it is with literally, crazy demons willfully screwing things up, to have a recipe fix “just like that”

    I still don’t think you get yourself. I do and I still think you are basically full of it.

  233. 233
    DaBomb says:

    @General Stuck: Hey General, once we get our site back up.. very soon(by the this weekend hopefully) feel free to join us… I am placing your blog on our blogroll dear!

    (Former WeeSeeYou blogger)

  234. 234
    Brachiator says:

    @Danny:

    It’s obvious you have conceded the argument w/r/t the payroll tax cut being a redistribution of wealth from people making more than ~100k/yr to people making less than ~100k/yr, because I think 5 times now have I done the math and every single freaking time you haven’t challenged a single word of it.

    No. It was a stupid argument not worth refuting. It is also irrelevant to your admission that the payroll tax cut is regressive compared to the Making Work Pay Credit.

    But what you said from the start was that the payroll tax holiday was regressive legislation that was a bad deal for low income workers and a sweet one for upper income workers. I’ve shown that to be false.

    Well, no. My point is that there is no reason for upper income workers to get a payroll tax cut. And Obama has yielded the principle of income phaseouts to the GOP’s love of across the board tax cuts.

    The payroll tax holiday didnt replace Making Work Pay because Making Work Pay was set to expire in 2010. If anyone would have wanted it to last forever they could have freaking done so but it was never intended to be anything else than temporary – it was part of the stimulus. It is an ex-credit as of jan 1, 2011 – just as intended all along.

    Why do you make stupid arguments about what was intended? The Bush tax cuts were supposed to expire. They didn’t.

  235. 235

    And for those of you that disappontment in Obama’s presidency seems like something our of some dreamworld, especially “republican light” charges, here is a link to ponder. Though I seriously doubt it will make any difference, because I think much or most of the belligerent rantings have little to do with his actual accomplishments as president re with any effort at differential analysis with other dem presidents at this point, especially Clinton.

    Here

  236. 236
    Danny says:

    @Brachiator:

    No. It was a stupid argument not worth refuting.

    That the payroll tax holiday is a redistribution from people making >100k/yr to people making <100k/yr, that is. Since you're not refuting it, you're conceding it. So we agree that the payroll tax holiday takes money from the rich and gives it to the middle class and poor. Good.

    W/r/t the other stuff, you're free to opine whatever the fuck you want re: yielding the principle of income phaseouts, etc.

    The problem was that you started out claiming that the payroll tax cut "screws poor people and throws money at upper income groups" and that's a fucking lie.

  237. 237

    @DaBomb:

    Thank you so much DaBomb for the linking. I did check your blog out the other day and saw the under construction message. I will most certain visit it in the future, when the new site is up. :)

  238. 238
    Elie says:

    @General Stuck:

    Thanks Stuck…saved the link..not that I need it but may to send to friends in the upcoming campaign season..

  239. 239
    Danny says:

    @Brachiator:

    It is also irrelevant to your admission that the payroll tax cut is regressive compared to the Making Work Pay Credit.

    The payroll tax holiday is also “regressive compared to” borrowing 1 trillion a year and giving it to minimum wage workers but that’s just as irrelevant to our discussion since neither of them are law from 2011 and beyond, and neither of them would have been had we not passed the payroll tax holiday. They’re not part of the baseline we use to determine the impact of a law. Capiche?

    It’s a blatant red herring.

  240. 240
    Elie says:

    @Danny:

    heh, heh, heh

    those damned stubborn facts again…

  241. 241

    @Elie:

    actually, that is a list from 2010, and there are better more up to date lists available, but figured it would serve the intended purpose, plus I was too lazy to search for an up to date one. :)

  242. 242
    Danny says:

    @Elie:

    In his defense: he is an excellent protest person.

  243. 243
    RosiesDad says:

    @Elie:

    You won’t give Obama or this administration the same respect accorded to you given uncertain cirucmstances. Why is that? Is there something about him that you deem incompetent in some way that prevents that? Maybe there is a bias you have? Why do you expect any one person in a system as complex as we have and the “patient” as ill as it is with literally, crazy demons willfully screwing things up, to have a recipe fix “just like that”

    I think you are reading way more into my initial post than you ought to. Go back and read it again. I don’t believe I ever called him incompetent. What I did specifically say is that I find some of the things he has done frustrating and that where he promised Hope and Change or Change You Can Believe In, he has more often delivered preservation of the status quo and he has, on more than one occasion, failed to be proactive and then ended up having to negotiate from a substantially weaker position than he might have. (Definitely the case, IMHO, where the budget, the Bush tax cuts and the debt limit are concerned.)

    As for recognizing that it is a difficult and complex job: Well, doh. But I don’t remember seeing anyone holding a gun to his head demanding that he run for President. He did it because he wanted to and probably because he thought he could do the job well. Because that is how he is wired. And I worked for and donated to his campaign because I thought he was the best candidate running. But that doesn’t mean that I cannot be disappointed with some of what he does or frustrated by some of what he does. Does it?

  244. 244
    Tremblay says:

    @Corner Stone: That was my reaction, too. I thought we were headed somewhere like “…I hope that someday when the president looks at this painting he experiences some awakening of conscience,” not “oh, and up yours, firebaggers.”

  245. 245
    RosiesDad says:

    @General Stuck:

    In a few years, I hope they poll the 35 million folks who will for many, for the first time, have access to proper medical care. Not to mention the millions who do have policies with legal recourse to being denied bennies when they got sick. I suspect their idea of “Change We Can Believe In” will be a bit more affirming than yours is.

    I hope so too. And I hope that the ACA was just the first step towards single payer health care, which is really the only way our healthcare costs are not going to bankrupt us over the next 40 – 50 years. But for that to happen, the Democrats will need to do a better job explaining what they are doing and why. And that includes Obama if he wants four more years in the White House.

  246. 246

    But for that to happen, the Democrats will need to do a better job explaining what they are doing and why. And that includes Obama if he wants four more years in the White House

    More explaining will not go very far to convince something that has not, or is just now starting to occur, as with HCR. Especially with the non stop lies from the GOP, concerning the impact of average voters daily lives.

    That approval and acceptance will arrive when people begin to actually experience it in their private lives. It is easy to message when your entire message is that we want to do nothing, like the wingers do. Dems act to make government actually do things to help people, and that is always a risky venture as to working as designed, or not.

    And blabbering all day how great something like the ACA is, does not go very far in a society as mistrusting of government as ours is. Been that way since Vietnam, and the wingnuts know how to play it against dems as something of an art form.

    As far as making healthcare costs go down, that is a national macroeconomic issue and problem. That is different than the politics of a bill that meets a specific need that improves the lives of average Americans. Where, if you ask most of them, they will not care much about the rich getting richer, than them having better rights and security for receiving proper health care.

  247. 247
    MikeMc says:

    I love Norman Rockwell. My Grandma and Grandpa had his paintings framed and hung in their farm house outside of Fort Dodge, Iowa. The picture in this post takes me back to a time I miss terribly. Like Will Ferrel says in “The Other Guys”, I’m experiencing a ballet of emotions. Also, “He loves you very much, Francine!!!”

  248. 248
    RosiesDad says:

    @General Stuck:

    As far as making healthcare costs go down, that is a national macroeconomic issue and problem.

    Providing healthcare for all at a lower per capita cost is the end objective. We have the most expensive per capita healthcare in the world and we don’t, by most measures, have the best outcomes (so we are not by any measure, getting the most for our money).

    As you rightly point out, the GOP is a nonstop lie machine. But the only way the Democrats succeed long term is to expose the lies and hammer them back day in and day out. Because if they don’t, the GOP will successfully blame every bad occurrence on the Dems and then who is back in power?

    ACA is not great. It is, at best, a good first step along the way to a better healthcare system. Listen, what we have now was arrived at by accident, not as a result of anyone’s Grand Design. But the objective needs to be to build a system that provides good healthcare to everyone at a cost comparable to what other industrialized nations spend. And all that stands between where we are now and where we need to be are the GOP and the special interests–Big Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Health.

  249. 249

    @RosiesDad:

    Providing healthcare for all at a lower per capita cost is the end objective.

    My end objective, at least for now, is getting people covered who aren’t and adding policy security to those that are covered by policy. The ideal will arrive when it does, progress is progressive.

    No one will vote for Obama or dems over long term overall cost of health care issues, but they might if the ACA actual helps them in real life.

  250. 250
    RosiesDad says:

    No one will vote for Obama or dems over long term overall cost of health care issues, but they might if the ACA actual helps them in real life.

    Most of the benefits don’t kick in until after 2012 (and many not until 2014); education is going to be more important than you think. I will say this: Insurance companies are starting to waive the copay for annual exams and anecdotally I can tell you that people notice and like this. Especially when the receptionist (who normally collects the copay) explains that the fee is being waived because of changes under the new healthcare reform law.

  251. 251
    Original Lee says:

    @Elliecat: This.

    Although I think that for this generation of kids, it’s more about class than race. We live in an area where there is a wide spread in family income – 1/3 of the kids qualify for subsidized lunches, 1/3 of the kids qualify as middle class, and 1/3 of the kids have some serious money, including substantial trust funds – and the racial mix is about the same, but race does not map to income. Green is the color that matters more to many of these kids than skin color. New kids, for instance, are asked many questions over the course of several weeks to pinpoint their status. My son’s best friend is considered weird because his family only has one TV (= poor) but they go skiing in Aspen at Christmas break (=rich) but their house is a 2400-sq-ft split-level (=middle).

    So I have hope on the racial front, but the war has become a class war.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] G. has a great post over at Balloon Juice about Ruby Bridges, Obama, and the famous Norman ROckwell painting which hangs in the hallway leading to the Oval Office.  The entire post is a must read, but his final thought is a gutshot: Racism is a fact of life for […]

  2. […] warfare, with uber-wealthy elites bankrolling a faux-populist insurgency.  You can, as Dennis G. does here, powerfully and accurately, trace the roots of the current fiasco in anxiety (and worse)n in the […]

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